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Graffiti Removal Worker Held in Tagging

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

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Talk about job security.

An employee of a graffiti abatement company that has a contract with the City of Burbank, CA, has been charged with creating more than 100 graffiti tags that he later removed as part of his job.

Enrique Medrano, 53, of North Hollywood, was arrested on the job Thursday (Nov. 8) on suspicion of burglary, vandalism and forgery, police said Friday.  He was released late Thursday on $20,000 bail.

Graffiti Protective Coatings - before Graffiti Protective Coatings - after
Photos: Graffiti Protective Coatings

The graffiti removal company says its own technology helped unmask the employee, who had created—then billed for— more than 100 tags. He was charged Thursday, police said.

Both Graffiti Protective Coatings and Burbank police say that GPC’s technology helped identify and catch Medrano, and GPC says he was fired immediately.

Los Angeles-based GPC has contracted with the City of Burbank for more than six years at about $100,000 year, the city said in a press release. “In that time, GPC has proven to be a valued partner in removing graffiti by using cutting-edge technology to provide an effective service at a low cost to taxpayers,” the city said.

‘Unusual Graffiti Activity’

The city said the suspect was nabbed by smart phone technology that GPC introduced three years ago to streamline workflow. In September, Burbank police “became aware of unusual graffiti activity through their monitoring of the GPC data technology.”

About the same time, GPC management “discovered discrepancies” with Medrano’s work orders. He had billed more than $2,200 for his services, authorities said.

“As the investigation moved forward, GPC stepped up and worked with our investigators to help us resolve this case,” said Captain Denis Cremins of the Burbank Police Department. “We appreciate their cooperation.”

No Cost to Taxpayers

Carla Lenhoff, president of GPC, said in a statement that taxpayers would not “have to pay any costs associated with” the tagger’s actions.

Graffiti Protective Coatings - worker

The company advertises "highly skilled service technicians" and said taxpayers would not have to pay for the damage caused by its employee.

The statement said:

“By partnering with the City of Burbank and Burbank Police Department, we were able to use our proprietary software to swiftly identify and ultimately catch this individual. His actions are not reflective of the principles of our organization or our high operational standards.

“We have zero tolerance for his behavior, and as soon as we learned of the situation, we took immediate action, terminated his employment, and have been fully cooperating with the authorities in their investigation. We will ensure that the city of Burbank and its residents will not have to pay any costs associated with his actions, and are proud to make our community a better place by eradicating graffiti.”

Founded by students at University of Southern California in an entrepreneur class, GPC promises 24/7 availability, 98% minimum color match quality, and one-hour or less response to emergency service requests. The company has more than 1,000 public and private clients.

   

Tagged categories: Criminal acts; Government contracts; Graffiti; Graffiti removal; Maintenance programs

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