Year-long probe ends with arrest of man accused of being “prolific tagger”


If you’re a Santa Clarita Valley resident, you’ve likely seen his work – on walls, sidewalks and public benches — in more than 1,900 displays of graffiti  tagging which culminated this week in an arrest.

Christian Pacheco, 25, of Canyon Country, was arrested Monday on suspicion of felony vandalism.

Shortly after 1 p.m. Monday, detectives with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff Station’s Career Offenders, Burglary, and Robbery Apprehension (COBRA) team apprehended the person they believe is responsible for tagging that allegedly occurred between January 2018  and December 2018.

Sgt. Brian Shreves, who oversees the station’s COBRA team, said: “The yearlong investigation included efforts from patrol deputies, COBRA detectives and members of the city’s graffiti removal program team.

“It was important for us to identify and apprehend the suspect,” Shreves said. “Pacheco’s criminal actions were both a financial burden, as well as an eyesore to the residents and business owners of Santa Clarita Valley.”

The images were most often spray painted and they most often spelled out the word Taser, said Shirley Miller, spokeswoman for the SCV Sheriff Station.

Taser, allegedly, refers to a friend of the suspect who died, she said.

Pacheco was identified by detectives with the help of members of the City of Santa Clarita’s Graffiti Removal team, who used a software program to document all graffiti incidents within the city limits.

By tracking the incidents, investigators were able to organize the graffiti in a database.

The location of identical tags could then be displayed on a map or a list, revealing patterns in place, time and frequency.

Sheriff’s Station detectives were able to view a list of the top taggers in a certain area, look at the patterns of when and where the tagging occurred and use investigative techniques to identify the suspect.   

The acts of vandalism reportedly associated to suspect Pacheco were documented in public right-of-way areas that included sidewalks, walls, signs and buildings located off of major thoroughfares such as Sierra Highway, Via Princessa and Soledad Canyon Road.

The majority of the graffiti was visible to the public in places of businesses, schools and parks.

Pacheco, who is on active probation for multiple crimes, was arrested and booked at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.

He is currently being held without bail at the North County Correctional Facility in Castaic, where he awaits a Feb. 21 court date.

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