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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Spray painters log their spree

Graffiti artists kept portfolio of damage, cops say

By James Tinley
Register Staff
— Police say they found a veritable graffiti portfolio in a book, complete with photos detailing acts of vandalism, after arresting two youths for allegedly hitting downtown Milford with spray paint Saturday night.
The book is expected to lead to more charges against the two, said Officer Vaughan Dumas, police spokesman.
A 16-year-old from Bridgeport and a 17-year-old from Fairfield were stopped and found with spray paint and markers at about 10:50 p.m. after police received a call from a witness who saw two males spray-painting a sign on River Street.
Police believe the duo they arrested are responsible for the fresh spray paint they found on a sign at the courthouse and the front of City Hall, both on River Street.
The two, whose names were not released because of their ages, were also charged with criminal mischief for allegedly spray-painting the High Street railroad overpass and the Metro-North train station Saturday night.
The spray paint on city property was cleaned up and painted over early Monday morning, said Mayor James L. Richetelli Jr. The city will seek restitution from the perpetrators and recommend to the court that they perform community service, Richetelli said.
“Graffiti isn’t just a nuisance crime; it’s an assault on the quality of life of the citizens of this city,” Richetelli said.
The car the two were riding in was impounded and a search led to the discovery of a book full of photos of acts of vandalism, police said.
Police were able to match the photos to locations around Milford and surrounding towns and more warrants are being applied for, Dumas said.
“The issue has diminished since the arrests we made last summer,” Dumas said. “I hope the quick arrest will serve as a deterrent for future incidents.”
Last summer police arrested 17 youths for vandalism. The city has been cracking down on graffiti, which residents and officials said had grown rampant. The Board of Aldermen approved an anti-graffiti ordinance last summer that includes Milford among other communities that allow the city to go on to private property to remove graffiti, and appears to be the first to fine owners for failing to clean it up.
The ordinance requires an owner to remove graffiti within 10 days of receiving a notice; noncompliance is punishable by up to $90 per day.
Richetelli credited raised awareness from the anti-graffiti campaign with the quick arrests of the two suspects in this case.
James Tinley can be reached at or 401-3530.