Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Tagger whose work allegedly appears on YouTube is arrested

'Buket' is responsible for $150,000 in property damage in the L.A. area, authorities say.

By Andrew Blankstein
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

May 28, 2008

"Buket" is one of Los Angeles' most prolific taggers - but he doesn't exactly work in the shadows.

The tagger is featured in several heavily viewed YouTube videos defacing signs and buses. His most popular video - with nearly 170,000 page views - shows him scaling an overpass of the Hollywood Freeway near Melrose Avenue and tagging the structure as traffic speeds below.

Authorities say Buket's moniker had adorned hundreds of freeway overpasses, concrete walls and transit buses across the state and southern Nevada. He is believed responsible for upward of $150,000 in property damage along the Los Angeles River and in the areas patrolled by the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department.

But sheriff's deputies said today that "Buket," whose real name is Cyrus Yazdani, could be out of commission for quite a while.

The 24-year-old man was detained this morning when he showed up to meet his probation officer. He is expected to be booked on multiple charges of felony vandalism, sheriff's officials said.

Law enforcement deals with hundreds of taggers across the city. But it is how and when Yazdani chooses to vandalize property that has earned him special attention from law enforcement, said Los Angeles County Sheriff's Sgt. Augie Pando.

"It's blatant disregard for other people's property," Pando said.

Rather than work clandestinely or under cover of darkness, sheriff's deputies say Buket prefers an in-your-face approach.

Another daylight attack captured on video appears to show "Buket" applying his moniker to an MTA bus as passersby and passengers watch in surprise.

The Internet, whether it's YouTube or social networking sites, is helping fuel a new explosion in graffiti tagging, albeit with editing and soundtracks. But investigators say it also is helping them build better cases against the vandals.

Earlier this year, another prolific tagger, Gustavo Romero, was sentenced to a year in jail for etching his "Guser" moniker on dozens of Metro buses.

Romero, 23, of South Los Angeles, caused at least $108,000 in damage to property over a two-year period. He pleaded guilty to 49 felony charges.