LA police arrest suspect, 74, on graffiti charges

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

Source: LA Times – 13.11.2009

LOS ANGELES – For months, a mysterious vandal has been slapping hundreds of “Who Is John Scott?” stickers on buses around Los Angeles.

Authorities expected the vandalism to be the work of a teenage “slap taggers,” who hit buses, street signs and light poles with stickers advertising shoes, skateboards, music bands and sometime their own hand-drawn monikers.

But the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department’s anti-graffiti detail got a surprise when they finally tracked down the man allegedly behind “Who is John Scott?”

The suspect is old school – 74 years old to be exact.

Detectives on Friday arrested John Scott on suspicion of felony vandalism, making him the oldest street vandalism suspect they’ve ever arrested.

“Up until this year, the oldest guy we had arrested was 36,” sheriff’s Lt. Erik Ruble said. “We knew our guy was older, but not 74.”

The arrest caps an investigation that began when orange and black “Who Is John Scott?” graffiti started popping up on buses seven months ago (though some bus passengers insist they’ve been around for more than a year). In recent months, the stickers spread farther out, landing onto light standards and street sign poles.

Then on Friday, a special graffiti “saturation patrol” was monitoring a downtown Los Angeles subway station when they noticed an older man. Ruble said the deputies saw him placing stickers on the main stairwell of the transit hub.

Authorities said Scott had stickers in his pockets as well in a black brief case he carried with him. One of the stickers was affixed to his briefcase.

Detectives spent the rest of Friday interviewing Scott. The stickers urge readers to go to a crudely designed Web site that sells “Who is John Scott?” T-shirts and hats. It shows a man with his face covered holding a briefcase with one of the stickers on it.

The site also includes some intriguing clues about the man.

One is a clipping from a 1976 edition of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin that includes a small item about the arrest of a John Scott for illegally selling T-shirts to tourists on a city street. The story noted that Scott carried a briefcase with a “Who is John Scott?” sticker on it.

Ruble said detectives are still trying to figure out Scott’s background. But he said they believe Scott was driven to vandalize by the same motivation as his younger cohorts: “fame and notoriety.”

“It just goes to show, the graffiti culture in Los Angeles is not age-specific and is very diverse,” Ruble said.

Posted in Graffiti Writing Old School, Graffiti, Politics & Laws, Public Media News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *