Trio of graffiti vandal arrests made in area

VISTA — Deputies have made another mark on their list of graffiti vandal arrests as the third person this month was arrested for causing tens of thousands of dollars in paint and marker damage to property throughout the city.
Alfonso Castro Jr., 19, was arrested March 23 after a search warrant at his residence turned up more than 100 items related to tagging, according to authorities.
Sheriff’s deputies of the Vista station’s Community Oriented Policing and Problem Solving Unit, or COPPS, were led to Castro through their recent investigation into graffiti vandalism occurring in the city.
Deputies said Castro is suspected of causing nearly $35,000 in damages.
He was charged with 80 counts of felony vandalism and booked into the Vista Detention Facility for damages that occurred in Vista; however, he is also suspected of tagging in nearby San Marcos and Oceanside, said Sgt. Joe Mata, of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.
The items confiscated during the search warrant at Castro’s residence include markers, artists’ pencils and spray paint, said Deputy Paul Michalke, of COPPS.
The locations he targeted were random and in different locations, and included damages to fences, street signs, utility boxes and poles, Michalke said.
“We narrowed it down to him through tagger monikers,” he said.
At a Vista courtroom, also on March 23, Luis Enrique Maganda, 18, pleaded guilty to one felony vandalism count and five misdemeanor counts for defacing commercial and residential properties in the city.
The damages are believed to be from spray paint and ink markers that were tagged onto walls, fences, utility poles and electrical junction boxes, and are estimated at $15,000, Michalke said.
Authorities said Maganda was arrested at his parents’ house in Oceanside, on March 15, during a routine probation compliance check because he was currently on probation for an act that happened when he was a juvenile.
At a court hearing April 21, Maganda will be sentenced to 180 days in jail, according to Deputy District Attorney Matthew Greco, the prosecutor on the case.
Another tagger was jailed earlier in the month, and that man was arrested at his workplace in Oceanside after dozens of items at his house were seized as evidence that allegedly implicate him in numerous graffiti acts, Mata said.
Oscar Fernandez, 26, resides at Foothill Drive in Vista.
He was arrested March 8, while working at a home-improvement store.
Authorities said Fernandez was also on probation at the time of his arrest.

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