Graffiti Remover Allegedly Tagged Parks, Then Charged City for Cleanup

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Michael Busselle / Getty Images

A graffiti-removal worker allegedly tried to create overtime pay for himself by creating his own art in Burbank, Calif. parks and later cleaning it up on the city’s tab. Now he’s been tagged with a court date — and no job.

Enrique Medrano, a former employee of Graffiti Protective Coatings, was arrested on Nov. 8 after the company discovered discrepancies in Medrano’s work orders, CBS Los Angeles reported. The company investigation coincided with one by Burbank police, who found that some parks were targeted more than once. The 53-year-old Medrano is due in court in December on burglary, vandalism and fraud charges.

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Authorities told KABC-TV that Medrano allegedly tagged the Burbank parks more than 100 times, defacing walls, benches and restrooms. The undercover artist then painted over his creations as part of his day job, ultimately charging the city $2,200 for his overtime effort, CBS reported.

“This is vandalism,” Darin Ryburn, a sergeant at the Burbank Police Department, told CBS. “Obviously he was doing it for the furtherance of his career.”

Graffiti Protective Coatings, which receives $100,000 annually from Burbank for cleanup, will not bill the city for Medrano’s work. The company condemned the actions of its former staff member in a statement, saying, “We have zero tolerance for this behavior and as soon as we learned of the situation we terminated his employment.”

The Los Angeles Times reported Medrano was released from jail after he posted $20,000 bond. When confronted by a CBS reporter outside his North Hollywood apartment on Nov. 9, he claimed he didn’t speak English. A woman later opened the door of his home with her own comment.

“What does he have to say for doing something like that, allegedly?” she asked. “Nothing really.”

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