Three arrested in recent streak of graffiti

quick-dialing witness, some quick-thinking police officers and a quick-ending chase resultedin the arrest of three people believed to have painted graffiti all over the Peninsula and posted pictures of the vandalism on the Internet.

The suspects are thought to be part of the “TC” tagging crew, which is responsible for tens of thousands of dollars of damage in San Mateo and other cities, authorities said.

In the wee hours of the morning Tuesday, a resident saw three people spray-painting a tag on a wall of The Futon Shop on El Camino Real near 17th Avenue and immediately called police, according to San Mateo police Lt. Mike Brunicardi and the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office.

When police arrived a minute later, the taggers were gone but were spotted nearby at 16th Avenue and South B Street painting the common “TC” tag on a garage door. Officers approached the suspects, but the men ran, jumping over a fence and going through a railroad crossing.

But officers were waiting on the other side of the fence and arrested 18-year-old Foster City resident Adam Meade, 19-year-old transient Edmond Bortolussi and a 17-year-old.

Both Meade and Bortolussi were booked into San Mateo county jail, and the youth was cited and released to his parents. Bortolussi is being held on $25,000 bail. Meade has posted bail and has been released.

The three men are believed to have been painting walls with the “TC” tag — one that’s been seen all over San Mateo and other Peninsula cities for the last 18 months, Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

The TC taggers posted pictures of their graffiti work on the Internet and competed with another tagging group called Dirty White Trash, or DWT, Wagstaffe said.

Brunicardi estimated the financial damage done by the TC taggers to be around $20,000 and said more damage might be added to that figure as the investigation continues.

On Wednesday, Bortolussi was charged in court and pleadednot guilty to felony graffiti charges, Wagstaffe said.

Felony graffiti charges are relatively rare, and the district attorney usually presses misdemeanor graffiti charges unless thousands of dollars of damage is involved, he said. Meade has posted $10,000 bail and has been released. Both he and the 17-year-old have March court appearances.

kworth@examiner.com 

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