Grand jury indicts 7 on graffiti-related charges

Yesterday afternoon, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón announced indictments for seven alleged graffiti vandals on 52 counts of property crimes that targeted small businesses and public spaces around the city. 

“We’re working closely with the police department to identify and hold accountable the most prolific vandals who cost the city over $20 million per year,” said Gascón in a statement. “By tying them to multiple incidents, we can ensure they face consequences equal to their impact on our community.”

One of those indicted is Tyler Kent Ross, 27, accused of creating Bart Simpson graffiti that incorporated the number 4. His unsanctioned artwork has allegedly been spotted in the Inner and Outer Richmond, SoMa, the Financial District, Chinatown and Nob Hill neighborhoods.

According to Gascón, Ross has been an "active vandal" in the Bay Area for several years and was indicted on 29 felony counts of vandalism. 

A Bart Simpson graffito at Geary and 9th in March 2017. | Photo: Nikki Collister/Hoodline

As we previously reported in March, Central Station police officers took Ross into custody on the 600 block of Jackson Street in Chinatown after receiving a vandalism call.

When officers arrived, they found Ross with paint on his hands and an open grocery bag containing spray paint cans. Ross — who has no fixed address — was also in possession of paint markers, Wite-Out correction fluid, etching pens, and a Bart Simpson keychain. 

The Bart Simpson graffiti began popping up in the spring of 2017 with roughly twenty Muni bus shelters targeted, SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose told Hoodline at the time. The transit agency dispatched crews on a biweekly basis to remove graffiti at transit stops and respond to complaints.

According to the District Attorney's office, combating graffiti in an environmentally safe and responsible way is cost-prohibitive. Additionally, much of the burden for abatement is placed on private property and small business owners.

On average, it costs around $3,370 to remove unwanted artwork, said Gascón's office.

Photo: SFPD

Also indicted on Tuesday were Jorge Coya, 38, and Connor Chavela, 19, for felony vandalism related to repeated acts of property damage over the span of three years; Omar Clerkin, 24, Carlos Cruz, 25, Avery Sizelove, 23, and an unnamed suspect who has a bench warrant for his role in causing significant damage to a Market Street restaurant. 

The multi-agency effort was comprised of SFPD Gang Task Force Officer Martin Ferreira, SFPD Central Station, and U.S. Park Ranger Joseph Salvini. 

"Our success in holding prolific vandals accountable is dependent upon the SFPD working in partnership with the San Francisco District Attorney's Office," said Police Chief William Scott. 

While these individuals have been indicted, the case remains an open and active investigation. Anyone who has information about this case or other prolific graffiti vandals is encouraged to contact SFPD via the department's anonymous tip line at 415-575-4444 or text TIP411 with "SFPD" at the start of the message.

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