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Graffiti suspect arrested, faces criminal charges

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - A neon green tag at a Scappoose building took three coats of primer and two coats of paint to cover up, said the owner. Scappoose police have arrested a 16-year-old suspect in connection with graffiti reported around town.  Over the past couple of months, Scappoose residents have been subjected to the spray-paint cans of a rogue artist.

The Scappoose Police Department arrested a 16-year-old male on charges of vandalism for graffiti that occurred throughout the city over the past two months. The arrest was made on April 22 after a prolonged investigation conducted by SPD. Because the suspect is a juvenile, his name could not be disclosed.

“It was a long, drawn-out investigation,” said Officer Troy Gainer of the Scappoose Police Department.

Usually graffiti reports are sporadic — trickling in every couple of weeks to every month — but since February, SPD has been continuously flooded by graffiti reports from residents and business owners, Gainer said.

The suspect is being charged with 14 counts of criminal mischief 1 and 2. The suspect was identified through a series of interviews, said Gainer.

"It took three coats of primer and two coats of paint to cover [the graffiti] up," said Brian Rosenthal, a property owner in Scappoose who had one of his buildings tagged with neon-green graffiti. "The police put a lot of time and effort into this and they should be commended for their proactive nature."

“We didn't catch him in the act, we've been conducting interviews since February and eventually identified him, then brought him in for his own interview.” he said.

There was no particular pattern to the vandalism. The suspect spray-painted graffiti on businesses, post office boxes, utility boxes and fences.

“To our department, it was all straight vandalism,” Gainer said. “I can't speak for the suspect's artistic intent.”