CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM
Graffiti was visible yesterday above the H-1 freeway running parallel to Magellan Avenue. Two visitors from the mainland who allegedly painted the graffiti were caught and charged yesterday.
Police nab 5 in separate graffiti incidents
Two people from the mainland and three Waianae men are charged in two cases
Police charged two people from the mainland with criminal property damage yesterday after they allegedly defaced a freeway wall with graffiti.
The pair was the second set of adults accused of spraying graffiti on Oahu property in the past two days.
Authorities charged Jennifer L. Ponci, 23, of North Carolina and David Cedeno, 18, of Florida with third-degree criminal property damage, a misdemeanor.
About 75 feet of the concrete wall above the H-1 freeway westbound was tagged with spray paint.
The two were caught fleeing early this morning on Magellan Avenue below Punchbowl after officers responded to a report of an act of graffiti in progress across from 602 Magellan Ave., police Capt. Frank Fujii said.
They were arrested at on suspicion of second-degree criminal property damage, a Class C felony. That was later downgraded to a misdemeanor when damages were determined not to exceed $1,500.
In a separate case Tuesday afternoon, police said they received an anonymous tip that led officers to catch three men in the act of spraying graffiti at a drainage canal in Kalihi behind the bus barn on Middle Street.
The three men -- Steven Stanley Ham, 20, Alfred K. Medeiros, 22, and Robert P. Schmidt, 21, all of Waianae -- were charged with fourth-degree criminal property damage.
In the Kalihi case, police recovered 55 cans of spray paint and 20 plastic spray nozzles, as well as masks and latex gloves.
Police announced the two sets of arrests yesterday during a press conference in which they asked for the public's help fighting graffiti.
"A lot of people think graffiti is a victimless crime, but it costs money to remove it," Fujii said. He urged anyone who sees people in the act or if their property has been damaged to call police.
The Honolulu Police Department's Graffiti Task Force has seen a rise in the number of incidents, which cost thousands of dollars to remove or cover up, according to police.
"It doesn't matter whether they're artists or gang members," they are still committing crimes, Fujii said.