Graffiti tagger caught red-handed

A Nanaimo graffiti tagger, already well-known to police, spent his weekend behind bars.

A Nanaimo graffiti tagger, already well-known to police, spent his weekend behind bars.

Robert James Mitchell, 27, was caught allegedly tagging an industrial recycling bin in an alley behind Terminal Park Mall Friday at 3:30 p.m. by members of the RCMP’s Crime Reduction Unit, who had him under surveillance at the time.

When he was arrested, Mitchell was out on bail for two previous tagging incidents committed Jan. 14. He was also on a conditional sentence order for an assault.

Mitchell appeared in Nanaimo provincial court Monday and will remain in custody until his next court appearance June 30.

Graffiti cleaning and vandalism repair is expensive. The city budgeted $71,000 for graffiti cleanup in 2010.

Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, said the Crime Reduction Unit has been tasked with identifying, arresting and charging taggers.