Two Santa Barbara teens have been cited for vandalism after police officers say they spotted the men tagging the Milpas Street/Highway 101 overpass.
Eduardo Zavala, 18, as well as an unnamed 17-year-old male juvenile, were cited for misdemeanors about 10:30 p.m. Monday after two officers were dispatched to the area for a call, according to Sgt. Riley Harwood of the Santa Barbara Police Department.
Harwood said an officer noticed Zavala on the center median beneath the freeway, then pull a can of spray paint from his clothing and start to paint one of the columns of the overpass.
The officers approached the man quietly, and spotted another man — the juvenile — begin spray painting the the area as well.
“The vandals were so engrossed in their activity that the officers were able to get within 10 feet of them before being seen,” Harwood said, adding that the men fled after seeing the officers.
Zavala reportedly ran westbound but stopped when commanded to do so, and was taken into custody.
The juvenile also ran westbound and then continued north, and discarded a can of spray paint in a planter. The officer caught up with him, and the young man was taken into custody.
Harwood said both suspects were found to be in possession of additional spray paint cans and paint can nozzles.
“Examination of the scene revealed several freshly painted tagging monikers in green and gray spray paint on the columns of the overpass,” he said.
Both suspects were transported to the Santa Barbara Police Department, where they declined to make statements about the incident, according to Harwood. Zavala was issued a misdemeanor citation for vandalism, with an arraignment date set for Feb. 25, and was released from the police station.
The juvenile was issued a misdemeanor citation for vandalism, possession of vandalism tools, resisting or delaying an officer, and destruction of evidence. He was released from the police station to his parents.