Taggers busted after posting their work on Facebook - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Taggers busted after posting their work on Facebook

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - There's new information on a major crime spree in the South Bay that  caused $70,000 in damage in Imperial Beach alone. Now we're learning more about the high tech way investigators were able to catch the suspects.

Finding graffiti vandals, who usually hide behind their monikers or nicknames, is often the biggest challenge for law enforcement. But thanks to one of these alleged taggers' Facebook pages, whose real identity was connected to his account, deputies were able to uncover a group of local graffiti bandits.

"Taggers like to brag, and that's why they tag, is to brag," San Diego Sheriff's Dept. Dep. Marty Ryniec said.

Authorities say 20-year-old Russel Matthews, aka "Razl", decided to showcase his work in cyberspace.

"He listed as 'Rasl Nasty'. It was pretty obvious to us who it was," Ryniec said.

On Facebook, investigators found photos of him and fellow graffiti vandals in action actually posing with their work and showing off their painting tools.

"I wouldn't say he was the smartest guy for doing it., but it was pretty evident from his postings that he was our guy," Ryniec said.

Matthews led to many others.

"We were able to go from one to the next to the next on his site," Ryniec said.

Through photos and Faceook postings, authorities were able to zero in on at least 10 alleged taggers who've been terrorizing Imperial Beach, Chula Vista and National City. So far three of them have been arrested. Along with Matthews, a 16-year-old high school student nicknamed "Bolo", as well as repeat offender Jacob Jacobson, aka "Rocket", who's already on probation for vandalism, including etching windows and 15 other acts of tagging.

"It's probably going to be a total of 150 to 200 cases against the group of 10," Ryniec said.

Authorities estimate this group of taggers is responsible for a total of $70,000 worth of property damage in Imperial Beach alone. Deputies are continuing to collect evidence in these cases, and say more arrests are possible in the near future.

The City of Imperial Beach has set up a graffiti hotline, encouraging residents and businesses to report any tagging vandalism in their community.

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