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BCPD closes graffiti case

Thanks to business surveillance cameras, the city’s vigilant license plate reader and “good old-fashioned detective work,” one of the most visible crimes the city has seen this year was solved and arrests made.

On Jan. 22, at least eight locations around town, including the historic Boulder City Theatre, were hit by vandals using spray paint, causing more than $40,000 in damage.

But earlier this month four arrests were made following an in-depth investigation by the Boulder City Police Department.

According to BCPD, two of the charges are felonies due to the monetary level of damages caused by the tagging. The higher dollar amounts were largely driven by the tags left on at least one historic locomotive at the Nevada State Railroad Museum.

The investigation included serving several search warrants, which were executed at multiple locations. The investigation resulted in the positive identification of the responsible individuals, consisting of four individuals — three juveniles and one adult. They are part of what police called a self-proclaimed tagging crew from Las Vegas and Henderson.

Police said that the adult was identified as 19-year-old Serry Iyatunguk, and that the three juveniles and Iyatunguk were arrested on charges of acts of vandalism (felony), placing graffiti on or otherwise defacing property over $5,000 (felony), the commission of a felony that was committed to promote criminal gang (gross misdemeanor) and conspiracy (gross misdemeanor).

“Graffiti crimes are on the rise around the country and Boulder City is not immune to the types of crimes that plague Las Vegas and Henderson,” said BCDP’s Lt. Thomas Healing earlier this week. “It is our goal in every investigation to deliver a citizen-focused response that not only satisfies the enforcement of the law, but also helps the victim gain closure, receive restitution through the justice system, and have their property returned, replaced, or made whole.”

Healing said that in this particular investigation, the police department is thankful for the patience of the citizens while they investigated these crimes.

“We understand the desire of the public to know as much as possible, as soon as possible, and we really would like to provide that information,” he said. “Unfortunately, giving too many details of an investigation can often compromise our ability to identify suspects, locate witnesses, collect evidence, and complete the investigation in a fair, unbiased manner. We are grateful for the trust the public places in us to solve these crimes.”

In addition to the theater and train locomotives, other locations hit were Rants Plumbing and the office building across the street from it, Dairy Queen and the entrance to Villa del Prado.

“Graffiti cases are difficult to solve as they generally tend to occur during nighttime hours, under cover of darkness, in places where there are usually no witnesses or surveillance systems in place to capture evidence of the crime,” Healing said.

“This case was solved thanks to the amount of surveillance video we obtained from businesses, our automated license plate reader system that protects the city’s ingress and egress points, and good old-fashioned detective work. That detective work included obtaining and serving search warrants on multiple suspects’ social media accounts, canvassing the areas for digital media (surveillance video), physical surveillance, and patience.”

A copy of the police report, which was obtained by the Review through a records request of the BCPD, states in part, “It’s worth noting several buildings throughout the city had been vandalized by what is believed to be four to five unknown individuals operating a silver Ford sedan. This information was gathered from surveillance cameras affixed to a business along Nevada Highway as well as Vigilant cameras installed in the area of Interstate 11 and Paradise Hills Drive (Henderson).”

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