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California Briefing / Los Angeles

Tagger arrested again for graffiti

July 03, 2009|Richard Winton

A tagger whom Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa once offered to mentor after he was photographed scrawling graffiti on a bus was arrested again Thursday for allegedly tagging a tunnel and another bus, authorities said.

The 17-year-old boy known as Zoner was arrested at 1:20 p.m. after surrendering to sheriff's detectives, who earlier in the day served a search warrant at his home.

The teenager was booked on suspicion of felony vandalism. Sheriff's investigators allege that he scrawled his street name on a Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus and other property.

"He started tagging again. Sadly, he is back at the buses again," said Lt. Erik Ruble. "This time it was the Red Line and a bus. You think he would learn after the first time."

In 2007, when Zoner was a 15-year-old student at Santee Educational Complex south of downtown, he scrawled his nickname on the outside window of a city bus carrying Villaraigosa and schools Supt. David L. Brewer, among others.

The act was captured by a photographer and appeared on the front page of The Times. In the aftermath, Villaraigosa offered to help the boy by becoming his mentor. But Villaraigosa ran into a host of obstacles, and sheriff's investigators say the mayor didn't mentor the boy.

-- Richard Winton

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