No criminal likes being caught red-handed.
But in the case of two accused graffiti vandals, red would’ve been preferable to black and gray.
That’s because an officer in the 8th Police District caught John Blaney, 22, and Timothy Wardle, 25, allegedly with black and gray paint on their hands outside a Holme Circle strip mall on March 28. The paint matched fresh markings found on the facades of eight nearby businesses, plus a delivery van, according to Capt. Len Ditchkofsky, the 8th district commander.
Blaney, of the 4700 block of Princeton Ave., and Wardle, of the 4100 block of Magee Ave., both in Tacony, were arrested on the spot and charged with a series of misdemeanors including vandalism, criminal mischief and conspiracy.
A conscientious civilian and quick police response resulted in the arrests.
According to Ditchkofsky, a neighbor called 911 at about 3 a.m. to report the vandalism in progress on the 3100 block of Willits Road. Officer Joe Hansbury was the first officer on the scene and spotted the suspects.
“They still had the spray cans and their hands were covered in paint,” the captain said. “One can was black and one was silver.”
Hansbury arrested both men on the spot.
The graffiti appeared on the front doors and windows of affected stores, including an insurance agency, a day care center, two cleaning businesses, a tax office, a hardware store, a produce store and a real estate office. The hardware store’s van also had graffiti on it.
The “tags” appeared to be nicknames of some sort, Ditchkofsky said.
The total cost of the damage is not known. The suspects have not been implicated in other acts of vandalism.
Earlier this year, Wardle pleaded guilty to a retail theft charge and was ordered to do 36 hours of community service. He is scheduled for an April 25 court appearance in that case.
In 2010, Blaney pleaded guilty in a trespassing case and was fined $100. ••EndFragment