The Desert IndependentTM

Serving Blythe and the Desert Regions of the Southwest Since 2001


Graffiti Crime: Catch & Release Didn’t Work

$100 Cash Reward

By Robert Winkler
The Desert Independent

September 28, 2012

BLYTHE, Calif – Did you ever wonder who might be responsible for all of the unsightly graffiti all over town? Take a good look at this photo of Charles Herrera and if you see him or anyone else doing any graffiti that leads us to an arrest you get $100.00 cash.

In the early morning hours of Monday September 24, a Blythe Police Officer patrolling in the area of Chanslorway and Carlton was alerted to new graffiti in the by the smell of paint in the air. A male who was seen walking in the 900 block of West Chanslorway was contacted by the officer. As the officer was talking to the man, he noticed that he still had wet paint on his shirt, and paint on his hands.

The subject was detained and searched, and found to be in possession of graffiti implements, and other evidence linking him to the fresh graffiti.

Fresh graffiti was found on a Palo Verde Irrigation District siphon at Chanslorway and Carlton. Additional matching graffiti was found on a junction box belonging to Frontier Communications, and a stop sign belonging to the City of Blythe.

The male, identified as Charles Herrera, 20, of Blythe, was arrested for Vandalism and Possession of Graffiti Implements. He was transported to the Blythe Police Department where he was released on a written promise to appear in court on the misdemeanor charges.

“If we take him to jail it costs the city a booking fee and the jail is required to cite and release just like we did” said Chief Steve Smith.

After Herrera was released, he re-committed the crime according to Smith later that afternoon when police responded to McDonalds regarding a graffiti incident. When the Officer arrived, he found graffiti on the new trash receptacle enclosure and on the rear of the old Greyhound Bus Depot.

The McDonalds employee who had reported the incident provided the Officer with surveillance video showing the suspect committing the vandalism in the early morning hours. The officer recognized the male suspect as Charles Herrera, who had been arrested earlier in the morning for another act of graffiti. Based on the time on the video, the Officer determined that the suspect had committed the vandalism shortly after being released in the other case.

Due to the amount of damage, this case is being pursued as a felony. The case is being forwarded to the District Attorney for filing.

We are stepping up our enforcement and asking the public to get involved by participating in the Graffiti Bounty Program. Starting October 1, 2012 anyone who reports graffiti that leads to an arrest will receive $100.00 cash for their efforts in helping us stop this unsightly damage.

Persons charged with a crime are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Anyone with information regarding this case, or any other crime, is urged to contact the Blythe Police Department at 922-6111 or they can give their information anonymously by calling Crime Stop at 921-CARE (2273) or by E-Mail.

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