Charlotte police crack down on graffiti artists
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CHARLOTTE—A big win for the LYNX Blue Line and Charlotte's Historic South End as police take three of the most prominent graffiti artists off the streets.
Three teenagers face a long list of charged, believed to be responsible for thousands of graffiti incidents in the area. The bust started May 29 as light rail operator Rena Vethea spotted Alejandro Martinez, 19, and Harold Maxwell, 18, spray painting the Bland Street station.
"As I safely got through the crossing I picked up the radio and I called it in," said Vethea.
The two fled but were quickly arrested by security officers after a short chase, and turned over to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. The two arrests led detectives to the group's apparent ring leader, 18-year-old Dylan Bane.
Police conducted an extensive investigation using search warrants and surveillance. Bane is better known as 'Eseo' on the streets. His tag still litters the LYNX line.
"The tag that he used could be seen Uptown, South End as well as the light rail corridor. Very prolific,” said Capt. Jacquelyn Hulsey of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.
Hulsey said it is a significant bust, noting the three are responsible for more than 1,000 graffiti incidents in the surrounding area.
"Over the past four years, and this is no stretch, in South End alone tens of thousands of dollars in damage has taken place," said Director of Charlotte's Historic South End Ted Boyd.
"The customers ride around and they don't want to see all that negative stuff on the line. Charlotte is such a beautiful city and we're trying to keep it that way,” said Vethea.
The three suspects face a long list of charges including several counts of trespassing, damage to property, drug possession and resisting an officer.