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Prolific South Kitsap tagger admits he was ‘addicted to the rush’

A 24-year-old South Kitsap man was arrested last week for what he admitted was a daily routine of tagging local businesses with graffiti, the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office reported.

According to several incident reports dating back to May of this year, several businesses on Lund Avenue had been reporting graffiti tagging on their buildings that were increasing in frequency and severity.

On Nov. 21, one Sheriff’s deputy noted that 15 different businesses on or near Lund Avenue had graffiti painted on the front and side of their buildings that included the words “NOS.”

The businesses affected included: Cosmo’s Deli, Staples, Starbucks Coffee, The Sprint Store, John L. Scott, Wok and Teriyaki, two vacant storefronts, a Washington State Liquor Store, Westcoast Fitness, Rent-A-Center and Wal-Mart.

Many of the tags were very large, measuring several feet in width and height, according to the report.

On Dec. 10, a Port Orchard Police Department officer spoke to the manager at Starbucks about some graffiti on the outside of the building. One of the employees told the officer that every time the staff paints over the graffiti, the suspect comes back the next night and tags it again.

The manager also told the officer that a customer had come in earlier that day and claimed to know who was painting the graffiti. The officer contacted the customer to obtain the suspect’s name and investigate further.

Two days later on Saturday, Dec. 12, shortly before 4 a.m., a South Kitsap man delivering newspapers called 911 after seeing two males spray-painting the drive-thru sign at Starbucks. Using previous suspect information and a tracking dog, deputies located two suspects in a nearby apartment complex.

The first suspect denied having anything to with the graffiti, and the second suspect — who had been named by the Starbucks customer — confirmed that only he had done the tagging, not the first suspect.

The second suspect reportedly told deputies that he has been tagging “NOS” onto buildings nearly every day. He said it was part of “his daily routine and he didn’t feel right if he went a day without tagging.”

He said that tagging the walls of businesses was something he had only been doing for the past two months, and that Starbucks was his “favorite because it was so close to the road and the risk of being caught was higher.”

He described himself as being “addicted to the rush,” and said he could not estimate how many times he had painted “NOS” on local buildings. He also reportedly told deputies that he didn’t understand why they were “making such a big deal out of what he had done” because he could clean up the graffiti “with a bucket of paint within a couple of hours.”

When deputies searched the suspect’s apartment, they apparently located several cans of spray paint, most nearly empty and in colors that matched the graffiti in question.

The suspect was then arrested for malicious mischief, first-degree, and booked into the Kitsap County Jail under $100,000 bail. His bail was later reduced to $25,000.

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