A young man who police say painted stenciled graffiti in places all over the city was arrested early Tuesday after he was caught painting along Tudor Road in West Anchorage, police said.
Maximino Gonzales, 20, who uses the name Meno on his grafitti, was charged with possession of graffiti implements and graffiti on public or private property, according Anchorage police.
Two officers on patrol around 2:30 a.m. saw someone painting graffiti with a stencil near the pedestrian walkway that crosses over Tudor Road by Willowcrest Elementary School, said Officer Scott Lofthouse. The person ran away from the officers but was caught in a wooded area nearby a short time later with cans of spray paint and paint on his hands, he said.
Gonzales, who had no previous record, was given a citation and released, Lofthouse said. Police have been aware of Meno's graffiti for a year or two, and it's shown up all over the city, Lofthouse said. Police had never been able to catch him, he said.
Meno's work was featured in an exhibition last fall at the MTS gallery in Mountain View.
Lofthouse, the police department's gang intelligence officer, said there was no gang connection with Gonzales' graffiti. "Some of these artists are very talented," he said.
But painting graffiti on public or private property without permission is vandalism under city code, and he said police are hoping to find property owners who had graffiti painted by Meno on their property come forward and fill out reports.
"When you paint on someone else's property, it's a crime," Lofthouse said.
Under the city code, graffiti convictions can result in fines up to $2,000 and up to six-months in jail. Offenders can also be ordered to remove the graffiti, pay the property owner for removal or pay the Graffiti Busters program the cost of removing it from public facilities.
Anchorage Daily News / adn.com