Cops nab graffiti suspects


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. ••


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