EUGENE, Ore. — Lane County sheriff’s deputies arrested four people for graffiti vandalism in Veneta, and they could be linked to dozens of similar cases in Eugene.
Eugene police suspect a “tag crew” is responsible for the vandalism.
They say graffiti artists looking to promote themselves.
Detectives say as we approach the summer months, we could see more cases like this.
The east wall of Action Rent-All on River Avenue has become a canvas for unwanted artwork before.
“This is probably the third or fourth time we’ve been hit in the last four or five years,” said General Manager Bob Criswell.
Criswell says the type of graffiti there is never the same. This time the side of Action Rent-All is marked with three different signatures.
And while to most people it might look like spray-painted scribble, Undercover Detective Greg Harvey recognizes the symbols right away.
“This is what they’re know as: here you have CAB, which is actually the initials. The ZDC is actually short for Zodiac,” Harvey said.
Harvey has seen these monikers before–more than 20 cases around town. So when the Lane County Sheriff’s Office arrested four people for a similar case in Veneta, he knew they were all connected.
But he says this is the work of a tagging crew, not to be confused with gang-related graffiti.
“In tagging, it’s the tagger that wants to be known, so they are tagging. They are making themselves look good,” Harvey said.
Harvey says the sound wall on Beltine near Barger tells a different story.
“An N, which is crossed out, and a K, which is Norteno Killer, and then up above that is 187, which is the California penal code for murder,” Harvey said.
Harvey says gang-related graffiti is about the gang as a whole, not an individual. But in some cases, what starts as a property crime can turn into a violent crime–like when a gang retaliates after someone crosses out a gang signature.
“(That’s) disrespecting that gang and can sometimes lead to violence,” Harvey said.
But Harvey says it’s important for the public to know that less than 25 percent of the graffiti we see isn’t gang-related–just a hassle for property owners and a senseless puzzle for police.
“I understand a burglar. I understand a thief, but someone that just does destruction for destruction sake just amazes me,” Harvey said.
Eugene police say it’s important to report tagging like this before you cover it up so they can keep track of all the cases.