Friday, February 15, 2008

If you do the crime, don't take the evidence home

Criminals are not exactly the sharpest tools in the shed. Stories like this in the Los Angeles Times about tagger extraordinaire "Guser" is a case in point. Allegedly (isn't that always how it is? Allegedly, even when they get caught red-handed? But I digress) the fellow was busted with "an arrest warrant [that] named him in 72 acts of vandalism, resulting in $108,000 of property damage." Some would call him prolific, but according to authorities:

"We have to come up with something bigger than prolific," [Sheriff's Sgt. Augie]Pando said. "That word doesn't describe adequately the amount of tagging this guy's done."

Anyhow, there are some lessons here to be learned.
  • The most important lesson to any criminal out there: DON'T TAKE YOUR WORK HOME WITH YOU. Most workers know the concept of "quitting time." When you get done with your labor, go home. Don't bring the work home. Case in point:
"It was smeared on the curb in front of the home of Gustavo Romero, 23, when sheriff's deputies arrived Wednesday to arrest him during an early morning raid at 77th and Main streets. Inside, they even found the tag scrawled across Romero's mattress."
  • By the way, the above is not just my advice. The police make the point as well. Then again, what criminal is going to take advice from cops? Anyhow, here goes and enough said:
"We had one guy on the Internet telling everyone to not keep items connected with tagging in their house and guess what? When we searched his home there was evidence everywhere," said Sheriff's Sgt. Estrada. "They think they'll never be caught."
  • Don't advertise yourself on YouTube, MySpace, or other social networking site. This may or not be as applicable to the Guser, but a lot of his friends make use the many 2.0 technologies. Sooner or later, you will get caught, and guess what evidence the cops will you use against you. Yep, the YouTube video you made and advertised to all your friends. "Sheriff's detectives say they catch taggers on film or video from cameras on trains or buses, and sometimes in the act; four skateboarders were arrested Tuesday in a train station elevator that had just been marked up."
  • For the cops carrying out the raid: Always have a nice meal before you go. Case in point: "Before dawn Wednesday, deputies gathered in a trailer south of the 105 Freeway for a pre-raid briefing. On the table were scones and blueberry crumble, baked by Pando the night before." To be honest, I have no idea why the reporter needed to put that detail in. It does show Mr. Pando is very thoughtful of his colleagues, if nothing else.

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