Graffiti artists who have been tagging property around the Tri-Cities for the past two years are being tracked down by law enforcement.
Five youths and an adult were detained Tuesday in a Kennewick police investigation involving more than 100 graffiti incidents since December 2008, said Kennewick police Sgt. Ken Lattin.
The suspects are involved in "tagging," which Lattin said means they are spray painting their unique moniker -- a series of letters or a defined logo -- all over town. It's different than gang graffiti, which identifies a particular gang, he said.
"These people, they really are artists -- they've got talent," Lattin said. "They're just using the talents for evil and causing thousands and thousands dollars in damage."
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Almost two dozen officers and detectives from the Kennewick, Richland and Pasco police departments joined forces Tuesday to serve search warrants at five locations, he said.
The six suspects contacted Tuesday were questioned, then released. Additional suspects could be identified, and investigators still are working to contact victims to get damage estimates.
A report will be forwarded to the prosecutor's office once the investigation is complete to be reviewed for possible charges.
Though graffiti might seem minor, Lattin said it is important for residents to report it to police so officers can document it and build a case against suspects.
"It's extremely important for us," Lattin said. "These cases go back to 2008. It may take a while, but when we do finally build the case, we want to have everything documented so that we can get the maximum restitution."
Some people might think nothing happens, but it takes time to gather intelligence and figure out who is behind the moniker or logo, Lattin said.
Once officers track that down, they can get search warrants and often find the same logo or moniker, or even pictures of the suspects posing with their graffiti, at their homes, he said.