Man arrested for $100,000 tagging
Steve Jefferson/Eyewitness News
Indianapolis - Metro Police arrested a man suspected of causing more than a $100,000 in damages painting graffiti around the city. Investigators say he also repeatedly tagged buildings and vehicles with his nickname, "Choke."
"I have done a lot. A lot," said Miguel Villanueva. He admitted to and then apologized for the graffiti damages he's left around the city.
The 23-year-old left his nickname Choke painted on countless buildings. Metro police estimate the damages well over $100,000.
"I didn't really look at it like that. I looked at it like an art aspect," he said.
Ted Kolbus owns and operates Capitol Supplies. They've spent thousands of dollars and dozens of hours removing graffiti.
"The building was minor compared to the damage done to the trucks. We had to get them repainted and re-striped," said Kolbus.
After spotting what investigators believe is graffiti painted by Villanueva throughout Center Township, police devised a plan to catch him.
"They started searching different websites, MySpace, different websites and finding more information," said Sgt. Matt Mount, IMPD.
Officers arrested the 23-year-old on three counts of criminal mischief - charges he's taking more serious after sitting behind bars.
"I don't think it should have come to this," said Villanueva.
Investigators believe the same suspect is responsible for graffiti on a vacant downtown building. Although it's empty and for sale that doesn't make it a victimless crime, police say.
"No, this is not victimless. It affects not only the property owners but it affects the neighborhoods themselves," said Sgt. Mount.
Villanueva never expected his graffiti to land him behind bars.
"I would be more than willing to help out with what I have done," he said
Villanueva also said when he goes to court he hopes the judge will go easy on him - even if it means being ordered to remove everything he painted on buildings.