Deputies arrest three suspected graffiti vandals

April 16, 2008 – 3:32PM
By Abby Sewell, staff writer

BARSTOW — Deputies arrested three suspected graffiti vandals believed to be responsible for at least $3,000 in property damages.

Robert Aguayo, 21, Mario Resendiz, 20, and Felipe Resendiz, 18, were arrested Wednesday and booked in the Barstow Jail on suspicion of felony graffiti vandalism, conspiracy, and participating in a criminal street gang, according to deputy Randy Duran with the Barstow sheriff’s station.

Deputies believe that the three suspected taggers are all part of the same graffiti crew. The group, going under the name Keep It Real, has sprayed its mark on locations in and around Barstow and in the Victor Valley area for the past couple of years, Duran said. The initials KIR appeared in large block letters on railroad bridges, abandoned buildings, walls, street signs and pieces of trucking equipment.

The graffiti crew is not believed to be a violent gang, but because its members committed coordinated acts of vandalism to bring attention to the crew, it is considered to be a street gang, Duran said.

After a long-term investigation, deputies and Barstow Police Department officers served search warrants at three houses Wednesday morning. Aguayo was arrested at a home on the 700 block of Patricia Avenue and the other two suspects were arrested at a residence on the 100 block of West Grace Street. No arrests were made at the third location, on the 2500 block of Johnson Street in Lenwood.

Duran said deputies collected evidence from all three locations, including cans of spray paint, custom spray tips, a paint mask, gloves and a laptop.

Deputies are still trying to identify the owners of some of the vandalized property connected to the tagging crew, but Duran said the victims included the California Department of Transportation, the National Park Service, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, Stardust Inn and Barstow Truck Parts.

Duran said the taggers arrested Wednesday have been subjects of previous graffiti investigations but have not been arrested before. He said he hopes that other taggers will take note of the arrests.

“The investigation is ongoing and will continue until this tagging crew is dismantled,” he said. “It may take time, but we will catch up to them.”
Other arrests are pending, he said.

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