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Regional gang unit graffiti and gang suppression operation

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RPD NEWS — One week ago, members of the Regional Gang Unit began an operation to target gang members and taggers involved in graffiti crimes. During this operation additional violent gang crime was addressed. The operation began with RGU members assisting Nevada Adult Parole and Probation on September 14th. RGU assisted with home visits of high risk offenders on parole and probation with strong gang ties in Washoe County. On September 14th, an adult prolific tagger was arrested and ultimately charged with a gross misdemeanor for graffiti. This subject was responsible for approximately $1600 in total damages related to graffiti, over a short period of time.

Arrested: Ezequiel Baltazar 1-8-84

On Monday September 16th, RGU continued to target graffiti offenders and arrested a juvenile for gang graffiti. During this operation, RGU officers also targeted a local Reno park where a local gang has been increasing its presence and criminal activity. Located in the area during the graffiti operation was a documented juvenile gang member wanted for a recent robbery within this city park. He was arrested for the robbery offense and booked into Jan Evans. RGU officers then sought another prolific juvenile responsible for gang graffiti. This subject was located and charged that evening with a gross misdemeanor for graffiti. The juvenile defendant is a documented local gang member who was also currently on juvenile parole.

Both of the above listed suspects were juveniles

On Tuesday September 17th, RGU and Washoe County School Police were conducting a follow up investigation into a string of graffiti cases in Washoe County, specifically in the Spanish Springs High School area. During these graffiti incidents, public parks and businesses had been damaged by gang graffiti. Additionally, residences in the area had been damaged, to include garages, sidewalks, and an American flag. Spanish Springs High School was also victimized during the crime spree. Through a tedious investigation, two documented juvenile gang members were arrested for the graffiti and charged with gross misdemeanors. More arrests will follow with this investigation continuing. During these specific graffiti arrests, it was discovered that another juvenile gang member had been involved in a recent larceny in Spanish Springs at the Save Mart. A female victim had her purse stolen from her while inside the supermarket. Several witnesses attempted to subdue the suspect, who fought with witnesses, ultimately escaping from the scene. This subject was identified during this operation and arrested on Thursday, September 19th. The juveniles responsible for the above graffiti and larceny cases are currently on juvenile probation.

All suspects arrested in the above cases were juveniles

On the early morning hours of Friday September 20th, Reno Police patrol officers responded to a call for service related to graffiti, in the area of Kietzke and Peckham lane. Officers located several documented gang members and associates, from a local Reno gang, committing graffiti crimes in the area. Once detained, it was determined the approximate total damage exceeded $5000.00 and they were subsequently charged with a felony.

Arrested for felony graffiti: #1 Cortez, Peter 7-19-93 / #2 Vargas, Adan 1-30-93

On Friday September 20th, Regional Gang Unit officers concluded their operation with two more arrests of prolific taggers responsible for graffiti within Washoe County. Adult suspect Tyler Wood was arrested for a gross misdemeanor graffiti charge, with damages at $3130.00. Also arrested was adult suspect John Bennett who was charged with Felony graffiti, with damages totaling more than $5600.00.

Arrested: #1 Wood, Tyler 1-8-88 / #2 Bennett, John 6-17-94

The Regional Gang Unit has put countless hours into this operation and looks forward to furthering this investigation and following the cases through successful prosecutions and sentencing. The Regional Gang Unit would like to thank all who were involved directly and indirectly with this week long investigation.

The Regional Gang Unit is comprised of Officers from Reno and Sparks Police, School Police, and a Deputy from the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office. The unit has many partners within our community to assist in combating gang and graffiti crime. Some of our partners include but are not limited to Adult and Youth Parole and Probation, Homeland Security, Jan Evans, Children’s Cabinet, local FBI, and other law enforcement agencies. Citizens within the community can be of great assistance to our unit by staying vigilant and reporting suspicious gang and graffiti type crime to their respective police agencies or by calling the Regional Gang Unit directly.

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