Colonel Steven G. O'Donnell, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police and Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, announces that on September 27, 2013, Troopers arrested two Providence men for vandalizing State property on Route 95 in the City of Cranston.
At approximately 11:00AM, a passing motorist contacted the State Police Lincoln Woods Barracks via 911 to report two men were in the process of spray painting or "tagging" a section of guardrail and an electrical box with the words "KIPBOYZ" and "LOWKEY" among others. Troopers immediately responded to the area and arrested Uriah K. Zoegar, age 19, of 904 Chalkstone Avenue, Providence and Kwame K. Ireland, age 18, of 388 Pine Street, Providence for Vandalism to Public Property. Both men were fingerprinted and photographed at the Lincoln Woods Barracks. They were later arraigned at Third District Court in Warwick and released on $1000 personal recognizance.
The penalties for those convicted of vandalism resulting from graffiti were recently increased as the result of legislation passed by the General Assembly in 2013. For a first offense, a person may be fined up to $1000 and ordered to perform 200 hours of community service. A third conviction is a felony, punishable by up to two years in jail, a $2000 fine and 300 hours of community service. In these cases, the State Police will also seek restitution for the cost associated with removing the graffiti.
Many "taggers" conduct their activities during the evening hours and wear dark clothing to avoid detection. This causes significant danger to both "taggers" and motorists.
On the evening of September 12, 2013, four young men wearing dark clothing were crossing Route 95 south in the area of Route 146 when one of the men was struck in the lane of travel by an oncoming vehicle. This individual suffered a fatal injury as a result of the accident. The three other men left the scene prior to the arrival of police. A can of spray paint was found partially discharged next to the victim. The location of the accident was in close proximity to a mural that had been defaced by "taggers" a month prior to the accident.
"Tagging" or graffiti has caused significant damage to public property. The Rhode Island State Police, Providence Police Department, and the Department of Transportation are working in partnership to address the issue and will aggressively pursue any individual involved in this criminal activity.
Members of the public are urged to call *77 or 911 if they observe a person engaged in "tagging" or defacing public property.
MEDIA CONTACT: Sergeant John Beauregard or Corporal John Charbonneau, Rhode Island State Police, Lincoln Woods Barracks, (401) 444-1100