Three Arrested For Graffiti Crimes Across OKC, Surrounding Areas

Monday, March 10th 2014, 5:41 pm
By: News 9

On Monday, Oklahoma City police announced three people arrested for tagging graffiti around the city - are wanted for several other charges across the country.

They are identified as 26-year-old Paul Yeakey of Broken Arrow, 24-year-old Hillary Gaby of Edmond and 29-year-old Victor Reyes of Chicago, Illinois.

These three people were arrested last November in Oklahoma City, accused of applying graffiti to private property. They are now linked to a national investigation into graffiti tagging in San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, OKC and Tulsa.

In fact, court records show two of them - Yeakey and Gaby - now face charges for being in possession of 350 spray paint cans, $15,000 and 36 pounds of marijuana. And Oklahoma City Police say one of them – Gaby - is a student at OSU.

While both the city and county do what they can to clean up the mess left behind by the taggers, plenty keeps popping up elsewhere. So that's why local law enforcement is cracking down on graffiti taggers everywhere.

"We typically pursue the gang graffiti vandal and the tagger vandal, said Sgt. Brad Harper, a detective with the graffiti unit at the Oklahoma City Police Department. "They've got a huge fan base - and it's not just with these specific taggers, it's taggers nationwide."

Police and county officials are cracking down on taggers. By erasing their calling cards, and levying steep penalties and fines -all in an effort to curtail the problem. And what some consider art, police and county officials consider a crime - especially if it is done on public or private property without permission.

"I have never seen anything that I think is beautiful enough that I'd want it spray painted on my house," said Brian Maughan, Oklahoma County Commissioner for District 2." I don't call it art, I call it ugly."

Maughan also helped start the SHINE program, which stands for Start Helping Impacted Neighborhoods Everywhere. Maughan says it is a comprehensive initiative he started a few years ago. It uses people assigned to do community service and provides a way to clean up his district.

Find out more about the SHINE program!

And police say if you notice someone tagging public or private property, call them immediately.

Oklahoma city is one of the few departments across the country that has a designated graffiti investigations unit that does file felony crimes against these taggers. They also help with cleanups.