Photo: Image of graffiti | Ventura County Breeze
Art may be in the eye of the beholder, but when one’s creative instincts lead to the defacing of public property, the only art critics that matter wear badges, carry guns, andare sworn to uphold the laws against street vandalism.
That reality was either overlooked or ignored by 25-year-old Fillmore resident Franki Lawrence Cantero, whose artistic output recently became a serious source of concern for Ventura County Sheriff’s Department detectives attached to the Santa Clara Valley Station. According to VCSD spokesman Det. Sgt. Will Hollowell, “graffiti tagging” that began appearing on “roadway signs, train cars, fences, and road barriers” for several months prompted an investigation and increased law enforcement patrols along Old Telegraph Road in East Ventura County.
Just before midnight on April 29 th , “a diligent patrol deputy” spotted an unoccupied car in the area under surveillance. With expired registration tags more than six months old, the deputy—who had observed “freshly painted graffiti in the area”—had the vehicle removed from the public roadway and towed to the area police impound yard.
With the vehicle in custody, a routine inventory of its contents lead to the discovery of “spray paint cans and writings consistent with the fresh graffiti in the area.” It didn’t take detectives long to connect the dots and conclude that the vehicle and its contents belonged to Cantero.
Late on the night of May 2 nd , Cantero was contacted and taken into custody. He was transported to Ventura County Jail, where he was booked on charges of felony vandalism with his bail set at $10,000.