Police seeking footage of La Jolla graffiti vandal

This is one of several instances of graffiti seen along Coast Boulevard in La Jolla on April 20.

San Diego police are looking for more video and other information in the hunt for a graffiti vandal who struck La Jolla early April 20, marking public walls, private property, benches and cars along Coast Boulevard and Coast Boulevard South.

Lt. Tony Lessa of the San Diego Police Department Street Gang Unit said a suspect has not yet been identified, but police did receive surveillance footage from local businesses.

“The video is pretty dark and you cannot even see what race or gender the suspect is,” Lessa said. “If someone has video, we want it. Should someone have footage, call (619) 531-2847 and ask for the graffiti task force.”

The tagger apparently isn’t one police have encountered before. Lessa said that when a vandal sprays graffiti, the name, logo, imagery or other information are cataloged so the person can be tracked.

“But it is not something we have seen,” he said. “We think the suspect might be familiar with the area because they were taking shortcuts between buildings and maneuvering in ways as if they had been there before. And we don’t know the motivation, but it seems, from what they were writing, they were angry at someone; someone wronged them. There were references to someone by their first name in the graffiti. We have not seen anything from this person since, so we see it as a significant but one-time event.”

The markings included apparent references to Ocean Beach.

“They wrote ‘OB’ in bubble letters and ‘1502,’ which is a reference to OB because ‘O’ is the 15th letter of the alphabet and ‘B’ is the second letter. But we don’t see gang activity in La Jolla or Ocean Beach and don’t have a tagging crew, so we don’t know what this is about.”

Evidence that has been collected is being processed through the Police Department’s lab.

John Unbewust, manager of La Jolla’s Maintenance Assessment District, said vandalism of this volume has been a learning experience. MAD, administered by local nonprofit Enhance La Jolla, uses funds generated through property owner assessments for efforts to enhance the community through things like graffiti abatement in the public right of way.

“I don’t recall seeing a significant amount of graffiti like we saw,” he said. “We have a volunteer that helps with the minor things, but the next step is to enhance the coordination with the city on these events. We will address vandalism and graffiti abatement in a more comprehensive way going forward.” ◆