Sunday, June 24 , 2018, 2:39 am | Overcast 64º


Local News

Santa Barbara Police Arrest Suspect in String of Graffiti Vandalism Cases

Santa Barbara police have arrested a man believed to be connected to more than 30 documented cases of graffiti vandalism in the city since July 2013.

Eduardo Robert Aguilar
Eduardo Robert Aguilar

Eduardo Robert Aguilar, 19, of Santa Barbara, is facing charges of felony vandalism and misdemeanor possession of vandalism tools.

Sgt. Riley Harwood said an investigation began after officers responded Dec. 10, 2013, to a report of a suspicious vehicle believed to be involved in drug activity in the 00 block of Santa Cruz Boulevard.

The officers contacted Aguilar and a companion, who Harwood said had been smoking marijuana in Aguilar's car.

According to Harwood, officers searched Aguilar's car and found a notebook with sketches of graffiti tagging and a backpack with aerosol paint cans. Harwood said Aguilar told the officers he was attending art classes and taking part in a community program for people with an interest in art.

One of the officers, who specialized in Crime Scene Investigation and had investigated and photographed more than 100 graffiti vandalism crime scenes, recognized some of the sketches in Aguilar’s notebook to resemble some recent cases of graffiti vandalism in of Santa Barbara., Harwood said. She photographed the contents of Aguilar’s notebook.

He was released with a citation for possession of marijuana.

The officer shared the information she had gleaned with Detective Ben Ahrens of the Police Department's Youth Services Section. Based on the information from Aguilar’s notebook, Ahrens tied Aguilar to more than 30 documented cases of graffiti vandalism in Santa Barbara since July 2013.

Harwood said the incidents occurred at various locations but were predominantly on the Westside. He added that the graffiti defaced more than 1,150 square feet of property and caused more than $21,500 in damage.

On Wednesday, Detective Ahrens obtained a search warrant for Aguilar’s residence in the 500 block of West Alamar Avenue, which he served with other detectives at 8:30 a.m. Thursday. The search revealed several items possessed by Aguilar for the purpose of committing vandalism, such as aerosol paint cans and postal labels.

Aguilar was arrested, and Harwood said he admitted to committing 26 of the cases linked to him in the investigation.

Aguilar was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail with bail set at $20,000.

Noozhawk managing editor Michelle Nelson can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >