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Graffiti Vandal Arrested
updated: May 01, 2014, 11:05 PM

Source: Santa Barbara Police Department

Eduardo Robert Aguilar, age 19, of Santa Barbara, was arrested for felony vandalism and misdemeanor possession of vandalism tools. Aguilar is a prolific graffiti vandal.

On December 10, 2013 at 1:14 p.m., SBPD Officers Gene Reyes and Beth Lazarus investigated a call of a suspicious vehicle involved in drug activity on the 00 block of Santa Cruz Boulevard. Upon arrival they contacted Aguilar and a companion who had been smoking marijuana in Aguilar's car. Upon searching Aguilar's car Officer Reyes found a notebook filled with sketches of graffiti tagging and a backpack full of aerosol paint cans. Aguilar told the officers that he was attending art classes and taking part in a community program geared toward people like himself who had an interest in art.

Unfortunately for Aguilar, Officer Lazarus specialized in Crime Scene Investigation and had previously investigated and photographed over 100 graffiti vandalism crime scenes. She recognized some of the sketches in Aguilar's notebook to resemble some recent cases of graffiti vandalism in the City of Santa Barbara. She photographed the contents of Aguilar's notebook prior to his release with a citation for possession of marijuana and later shared that information with SBPD Youth Services Section Detective Ben Ahrens.

Based on the information gleaned from Aguilar's notebook, over the course of the next four months Detective Ahrens was able to tie Aguilar to over 30 documented cases of graffiti vandalism in Santa Barbara since July 2013. The incidents occurred at various locations in the city, but predominantly on the Westside. The graffiti defaced over 1,150 square feet of property and resulted in over $21,500.00 worth of damage. On April 30, 2014 Detective Ahrens obtained a search warrant for Aguilar's residence on the 500 block of W. Alamar Avenue which he served with other detectives on May 1, 2014 at 8:30 a.m. The search revealed several items possessed by Aguilar for the purpose of committing vandalisms such aerosol paint cans and postal labels. Aguilar was subsequently arrested and when interviewed he admitted to committing 26 of the cases linked to him in the investigation.

Aguilar was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on the aforementioned charges with a bail amount of $20,000.00.

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