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11:11 AM Tue, Nov. 20th

Officer reportedly catches vandal in the act; graffiti tag tied to 30 acts of criminal damage

Prescott police cited a 23-year-old Prescott man Wednesday for criminal damage after a Prescott police officer caught him writing the word "Rise" with a black marker on a traffic signal box at Montezuma and Willis streets. The man reportedly later told officers that was his graffiti tag.

The tag "Rise" has been linked to as many as 30 different acts of criminal damage in the Prescott area, including graffiti found last week at a local church, Prescott Police Lt. Ken Morley said.

"This was a misdemeanor," Morley said. "However, once we put all the cases together, it is likely he will face felony charges." 

The suspect's name is not included in this story per Courier policy not to identify people charged with misdemeanors.

At 10 p.m., an officer drove past the man at the traffic signal box, looked in his side mirrors and saw the man doing something to the box. The officer turned his patrol car around, noticed graffiti on the signal box, and saw the man run away eastbound on Willis Street, according to the police report.

The officer initially lost sight of the man, but later found him standing on the sidewalk in front of a business in the 200 block of N. Cortez Street.

As the headlights of the patrol car lit the man, he dropped something on the ground next to him. The officer approached the man, handcuffed him, and noticed the item on the ground was a marker whose ink matched the graffiti on the traffic signal box.

The officer smelled alcohol on the man's breath and asked how much he'd had to drink. The suspect told him he drank a six-pack.

The man initially told officers this was the first time he had tagged, but later at the police station, the man said "Rise" was his tag and that he had tagged before.

After the man was issued his citation, he asked the officer if he could sign his citation with "Rise," and the officer told him he could.

The man is scheduled to appear in court on July 24, Morley said.