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Graffiti-removal worker arrested for 'tagging' to create work

November 9, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
An unusual graffiti arrest in Burbank: A man working for a graffiti removal company is accused of making his own graffiti, then cleaning it up on the job.

Graffiti can be an eyesore for communities. No one wants a permanent reminder of vandalism, so cities like Burbank contract out to companies to paint over unwanted graffiti. That's what 53-year-old Enrique Medrano's job was.

But Burbank Police say he was illegally working overtime by tagging his own graffiti, then charging to paint over it.

Police say most of Medrano's tagging happened in public parks like Valley Park. He would tag benches and restrooms and walls. In all, he's accused of tagging more than 100 times.

His own company actually discovered what he was doing thanks to a smartphone app they developed. In trying to track him down, they realized his numbers didn't quite add up.

That company, Graffiti Protective Coatings Inc. told Eyewitness News in a statement: "As soon as we learned of the situation, we took immediate action, terminated his employment, we will ensure that the city of Burbank and its residents will not have to pay any of the costs associated with his actions."

Medrano didn't answer at his North Hollywood apartment Friday. He was booked on charges of burglary, vandalism, and forgery.