An alleged tagger with a prolific history of vandalism was arrested in the SCV after a year-long investigation that included members of the Santa Clarita Sheriff Station COBRA detectives and people who remove graffiti. The suspect is believed to have committed over 1900 acts of vandalism between January 2018 and December 2018.
To identify the suspect, detectives turned to the city’s graffiti removal team, which documents all incidents of graffiti within city limits. The information in the database was used to identify patterns of time and place where identical pieces of graffiti are located. The deputies then referenced known taggers in the area who would have fit into the pattern and were able to identify the suspect. C. Pacheco, of Canyon Country, was arrested on suspicion of felony vandalism and taken to the Santa Clarita Sheriff Station to undergo booking and processing. At the time of his arrest, Pacheco was on probation for several other crimes.
Vandalism is covered under California Penal Code 594 PC and is described as defacing with graffiti or any other written material, damaging, or destroying, someone else’s property. The crime is charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the suspect’s prior criminal history and the cost of repairing the damage done. Vandalism is charged as a misdemeanor when the cost of the damages is less than $400. Misdemeanor vandalism is punishable by up to 1 year in county jail, a fine of up to $5,000 and/or informal probation.
When the cost of the damages is greater than or equal to $400, the crime of vandalism becomes a “wobbler” that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. When vandalism becomes a “wobbler,” but is still charged as a misdemeanor, the potential penalties include up to 1 year in county jail, a maximum fine of $10,000 OR up to $50,000 if the damage to the property is valued at over $10,000, and/or misdemeanor probation. When charged as a felony, as is in C. Pacheco’s case, the potential penalties include probation with up to 1 year in county jail OR 16 months to 3 years in county jail, and the same fines and probation conditions as the misdemeanor charge.