BRANDON, Fla. -
On storefront walls across Brandon, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office believes an 18-year-old has two names: "Krast " and "Dash."
When arresting him Wednesday, the called him by his real name, Luis Alexander Lopez.
"Basically they were giving themselves names, and it was just a matter of us identifying the person attached to that particular name," explained HCSO Spokesman Larry McKinnon.
Deputies arrested Lopez and two other teens for serial graffiti, the youngest just 14. They are charged with 25 counts of criminal mischief after an investigation that spanned the entire Brandon area and lasted almost a year.
Sometimes, detectives investigated the same victims multiple times, including The Dog House groomers on SR 60, where Bruce Riezinger says his landlord has covered up the tags at least 5 times.
"They came right back and painted it again, because before it was in red, this time it's in blue and black," Riezinger explained. "It just brings things down. It's dirty. It's not the thing to have on your building."
Riezinger's business is one of 13 victims to report damage to HCSO, which calculates the three teens created about $5,200 worth of damage.
The total cost to businesses, however, could be greater, depending on how the nonsense words may have spoken to customers.
"They see this on a store or they see this on a business, it looks like, 'Oh my God, this is gang activity. These are gang symbols. I don't want to go there,'" McKinnon said.
According to McKinnon, the words have nothing to do with gangs. They really don't mean anything.
Except, when sprayed thousands of times across town, the names now mean real punishment.
Surveillance video helped a school resource officer identify the teens, who will likely face community service that may involve cleaning up the mess.
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