SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Santa Barbara police caught a suspected tagger in the act thanks to an alert resident.
On Friday, a person called dispatch to report a vandalism in progress underneath the Junipero Foot Bridge on the south side of Highway 101.
"The reporting party who called it in stayed on telephone with dispatch and gave a good description of the suspect," said Sgt. Joshua Morton. "Officers are very familiar with this area because this area gets vandalized a lot, a lot of tagging, so they know quick routes to get in."
Police came in from different locations and surprised the suspect while he was still spray painting.
Andre Brenner-Billet, 27, of Goleta was taken into custody without incident.
Police said Billet also had spray paint cans, and other incriminating items with him.
A few hours later, public works crews painted over the graffiti. Once a vandalism is reported, police or public works officials use a graffiti tracking camera, with a GPS system that tags where the vandalism occurred. That information is stored into a database.
"The Graffiti Tracking Database is a system officers can log into and they can look at the history of different vandalisms throughout the city. "They can link those different vandalisms to a suspect say, if we catch them down the line," said Morton.
Police said another important way to combat vandalism in the city is to report it.
"Even if it's something after the fact, again because we can track these things, we really want people to report it so we can come and take that report, take the photographs, and get it cleaned up as quickly as possible," he said.