Reporter: Claire Doan
TUCSON (KGUN-TV) – Tucson Police finally busted a prolific tagger who caused at least $26,000 of damage and responsible for over 100 acts of vandalism, but 9 On Your Side wants to know: Does his punishment fit the crime?
Cody Bledsoe, 19, struck all over town, leaving his mark everywhere. His punishment from PIma County Superior Court Judge Jose Robles? 90 days in jail and three years probation.
According to police, Bledsoe did traditional tagging as well as etching on glass. His work on windows at Circus Furniture cost almost $20,000 and pushed many customers away.
“It looked very, very bad like a gang land because they were tagging the store almost daily or every other day,” said Store Manager Drew Wolder, adding that the vandalism stopped as soon as Bledsoe went to jail.
9 On Your Side also got a hold of the Initial Appearance Sheet from the Pima County Attorney’s Office that states the bond for Bledsoe should be $15,000 since he “will NOT stop.”
“It’s not quite enough. It’s kind of like a slap on the hand when you add all the dollars worth of damage he did and the impact it made on a businesses,” Wolder said.
Midvale Park has seen a lot of graffiti, too. Neighborhood president Joe Miller believes taggers should get stiffer sentences and said there’s a perfect place for their artwork.
“We could have really pretty jails with really pretty murals. If they want to tag, they can tag all day on the inside of a jail,” Miller said.
So KGUN9 News took their concerns to Pima County’s Chief Criminal Attorney.
“Do you this was a fair sentence?” Reporter Claire Doan asked.
“Given the terms of plea agreement and what the court did, yes,” Kellie Johnson responded. “One of the things we were attempting to accomplish here was to hold the offender accountable, but also as part of that sentence to have the offender give back to the community.”
Johnson said this is the first case in which the Pima County Attorney’s Office worked closely with Tucson Police Department, which investigated Bledsoe for a prolonged period of time.
In addition to the jail time (half of which Bledsoe has already served), he is required to do 30 hours a week of graffiti clean-up if he is not working or attending school and paying Circus Furniture and the city of Tucson for the graffiti damage. He owes Circus Furniture roughly $19,000 and Tucson more than $8,000.
Johnson mentioned that the Pima County Attorney's Office tries about two graffiti cases a month.