AZUSA — Police arrested a 22-year-old Azusa man early Friday on suspicion of graffiti vandalism after he was spotted writing with a marker on a utility box, police said.
Juan Arrona was released with a citation following his arrest shortly after midnight Friday in the 400 block of West First Street, Azusa police Sgt. John Madaloni said in a written statement.
A resident called police to report seeing the vandalism taking place, and officers spotted Arrona walking away from the area, the sergeant said.
“Arrona was also in possession of a black marker which matched the fresh graffiti located on the utility box,” Madaloni said. “Arrona later admitted to his crime, but identified it as ‘wall art’ rather than graffiti.”
The damage to the utility box was estimated at $200, police added.
Azusa police encourage anyone who sees graffiti vandalism in the city to report it, officials said, and the department launched a program in January that rewards tipsters with cash rewards.
The program, started Jan. 22, offers $100 instant rewards for those who report graffiti incidents that lead to an arrest, Madaloni explained.
For the safety of the tipsters, he added, police will not discuss whether rewards were paid in any specific cases.
Even before the award, Azusa residents have proven themselves willing to cooperate with police to stop graffiti vandalism, Madaloni said.
“We’ve seen time and time again evidence of community pride, and that people see their role in combatting crime,” he said.