Mount Vernon, WA – An adult Mount Vernon resident has been arrested and jailed for multiple crimes after being caught blue handed while spray painting local signs, freeway overpasses, fences, personal property, public property and playground equipment with gang graffiti.
On January 17, 2021, Mount Vernon Police Officers received numerous citizen reports of blue, spray painted, gang style graffiti in the North River Commercial Zone, which encompasses much of College Way, Riverside Drive and Urban Avenue. Spray painted property included cedar fences, metal business siding, a brick wall and several I-5 overpass supports at Stewart Road. At the time of these reports, no suspect information was available but Mount Vernon Officers continued to investigate the crimes.
On January 31, 2021 at about 3:30pm, officers responded to a graffiti complaint at the South 6th Street Park, located in the 1200 block of South 6th Street. A witness called advising they observed an adult male spray painting signs and playground equipment. The suspect was observed leaving in a silver Toyota Corolla, and the witness provided officers with the license plate. The Police Investigation revealed the spray painted graffiti was similar to the spray paint graffiti which had been reported two weeks prior.
Based on the witness report, Officers were able to locate the suspect vehicle in the 1400 Block of North 30th Street. The driver and sole occupant was contacted and arrested. During the arrest, officers observed a spray paint can in the vehicle, and the suspect had fresh blue spray paint on his fingers. The suspect, 33-year old Rosalino Vasquez-Cruz, a Mount Vernon resident, was booked into the Skagit County Community Justice Center on charges of Assault 3rd Degree, Malicious Mischief and Resisting Arrest.
On February 3, 2021, a search warrant was served on the suspect vehicle and the suspect residence in the 1400 Block of North 30th Street. Numerous items of evidence were located including a blue spray paint can, several photos and clothing items which contained similar words and phraseology to the documented graffiti around town.
As a result of the extensive investigative efforts, charges were amended on Mr. Vasquez-Cruz to include Malicious Mischief 2nd Degree and 18 separate counts of Criminal Street Gang Tagging. Damage estimates are still being collected, but the total is in excess of $2500.
Volunteers from the Mount Vernon Police Department’s Citizens on Proactive Patrol (COPP), have conducted clean-up of the majority of the graffiti sites. We appreciate the efforts of our volunteers, who work tirelessly with us to help make Mount Vernon a safe and enjoyable place to live.
Reference: Mount Vernon Police Department Case #21-M01814