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Graffiti Vandal Must Wipe the Slate Clean : Crime: Youth pleads guilty to spraying moniker throughout the Wilmington area. Judge sentences him to cover 400 tags and serve 30 days in jail.

April 22, 1993|LISA RICHARDSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A teen-ager described by prosecutors as one of the most prolific graffiti vandals in the Wilmington area pleaded guilty to one charge of criminal vandalism Wednesday and agreed to remove about 400 of his tags in the presence of a police officer.

Jeffery Patrick Lipka, 19, was placed on three years of summary probation after pleading guilty and agreeing to remove the graffiti, said Deputy City Atty. Juana Webman. Webman said Lipka, who identified himself as an unemployed laborer, will also serve 30 days in County Jail.

Webman said Lipka was arrested Tuesday night after a Wilmington resident saw him spray-painting his tags, "Axsel" and "Askel," on a wall at a closed gas station at Anaheim and Gaffey streets.

She said police found Lipka leaning into the trunk of his car in the 1200 block of Anaheim Street about 11 p.m. He was arrested after officers found two cans of spray paint in his car trunk that matched the paint the citizen had seen him allegedly spray on the gas station wall earlier.

Webman said Lipka was responsible for about 400 tags, and as part of his sentencing agreed to remove all of them, at his expense, in the presence of an officer from the Los Angeles Police Department.

"We have seen his names in different places and he has contributed to blight in the area," Webman said.

Webman said there had recently been a "tremendous interest on the part of citizens to apprehend individuals" responsible for a wave of tagging in the Wilmington, San Pedro and port area.

Los Angeles City Atty. James Hahn said that graffiti vandals were "hard to identify and apprehend" and he applauded the assistance given police by residents, saying, "this is the kind of involvement we must have from the public."

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