Detroit police arrested five vandals accused of tagging buildings across Detroit in yet the latest crackdown on graffiti.
The alleged vandals belong to a group known as TCK Crew, which has vandalized buildings throughout the city. The suspects, most of whom live outside of the city and are between the ages of 19 and 21, are Ramon Curiel (Detroit), Rickey Steciak (Southgate), JonMichael Hernandez (Lincoln Park), Juan Meza (Romulus) and Cristian Aguinaga (Detroit).
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In the graffiti scene, they are known as Riddle, Zuer, Phox, Scab and Fon.
They were charged Monday with malicious destruction of property.
“The new message is, ‘If you do it here in Detroit, you will be arrested and prosecuted,” Police Chief James Craig said of graffiti vandalism.
Police launched a graffiti crackdown this summer following a series of stories we published about the proliferation of vandalism on occupied and historic buildings, churches, houses, road signs, cars, light poles, trees and almost anything else with a surface.
The first charges came last month after three Grosse Pointe teens were caught on surveillance vandalizing downtown buildings.
In the latest arrest, police were called to a report of vandals painting a building at Livernois and Burlingame. After a brief chase, police captured three men and spotted two others defacing the building.
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“The department will not tolerate individuals who maliciously deface or vandalize any buildings or structures within our city and we will make every effort to ensure that those laws protecting the beauty of our communities are enforced with the utmost integrity and respect,” police said in a press release.
In May, as police were forming a task force to tackle graffiti, two cops caught a graffiti vandal on Gratiot but let him go.
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Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.