Teen charged with felony tagging

Dec. 6, 2007 at 1:40 PM
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SAN JOSE, Calif., Dec. 6 (UPI) -- A young California man, allegedly one of the most prolific taggers in the San Francisco area, faces four felony counts of illegal graffiti.

Investigators say that Daniel Cortez Aldama, 18, is Belk, a name that is all too familiar around San Jose, The San Jose Mercury-News reported. The name appears on highway overpasses, at the Fremont Adult School, where Aldama is a student, and, in one dramatic case, in a 120-foot long depiction of hands spelling out the letters in American Sign Language on a noise barrier on Interstate 880.

"The sad thing is that he actually has a lot of talent," said Officer Erik Hove of the San Jose Police Department's anti-graffiti team. "This guy could've had a career as a graphic artist."

While Belk is an alias, investigators say that Aldama was not shy about claiming credit. They said that videos showing him in action and photographs of his graffiti were found at his home and that he posted photos on the site Flickr.

Under questioning, Aldama allegedly told police that tagging or doing graffiti is an addiction. The price tag for the damage is put at $100,000.

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