Kent Police have arrested a 20-year-old Kent man in connection with more than 30 “taggings” on homes, businesses, apartment complexes, and other structures on Kent East Hill area.
Police first started to see the tag “YAPT” appear on public and private properties in August 2010, Kent police Lt. Pat Lowery said today. Police noted several variations to the tag, but determined that one person was responsible for the tagging.
In October, the suspect was contacted by Kent officers following a vandalism incident at a local shopping center. He was later released due to a lack of evidence.
Lowery said that during that contact he bragged to an officer of being “one of the most prolific taggers…ever seen”, adding that he would not be caught as he was “that good.”
A search of the Internet produced video linking the suspect to the “YAPT” moniker. Officers also reached out to local businesses for help.
A local business provided surveillance video showed the suspect walking away from a Puget Sound Energy utility box after it had been damaged with the tag “YAPT132”. Officers then located a witness to the tagging.
The same video also tied the suspect to a subsequent tagging incident that occurred inside a local restaurant. While completing their investigation, Kent Police were able to identify 25 tagging victims.
“We are delighted with this arrest” noted Kent Police Chief Ken Thomas. “This is a great example of residents, local businesses, and Kent Police working together to protect the quality of our community”.
Since 2008, the Kent Police Department has worked with other City agencies to develop an aggressive graffiti prevention program. It includes a graffiti hotline for reporting damage or providing tips on taggers, a community response team to help clean up graffiti, and enhanced penalties for persons caught “tagging.”
Those penalties can include a year in jail and a $5,000 fine. The community can report information on graffiti at 253-856-GRAF or here.