Asheville’s war on graffiti: Two new arrests, one ugly new tag


Here’s the latest in Asheville’s war on graffiti: police recently made two arrests, while someone tagged a beautiful mural on the side of Hunter Banks on Montford Avenue.

First, the latest arrests, from the Asheville Police Department:

On April 15th, 2014 at approximately 1:22 AM, an APD officer located two subjects inside a vehicle behind the building at 81 North Lexington Avenue. Adjacent to the vehicle were several large and freshly painted tags on the rear of Forever Tattoo. The officer noted matching paint on the hands of both subjects as well as the overwhelming odor of paint inside their car. The property was posted with No Trespassing signs, and the two were arrested. An inventory of the vehicle revealed a number of spray paint cans matching the colors of the fresh tags as well as a book containing images of the same tags. Colin Michael Martin (bottom photo), 20, of Berkeley, California, and Mark William Vonalmen (top photo), 21, of Metairie, Louisiana were charged with the trespassing violation and damage to real property.

Attached are the tags that were observed on the rear of the building at 98 North Lexington Avenue. The Asheville Police Department is asking for the public’s help in locating any additional new or recent tags like these that can be attached to these suspects.

In addition to increased police patrols, City staff members across the organization have been working with business owners and community leaders to address the graffiti problem. Efforts are aimed at both immediate and mid-to-long term solutions.

The first and most important action to take when observing someone “tagging” or damaging property is to report it immediately. The Asheville Police Department number is 828-252-1110. Buncombe County Crime Stoppers is 828-255-5050.

And here’s a photo of the graffiti on the wonderful Hunter Banks mural. Ugh.




madelaine July 17, 2014 - 12:32 am

I’m surprised at the bias tone this article has apologetically assumed. Professional (if this is what the aim is for this news publication) journalists are allowed to of course take a personal stance in a piece, but “professionals” using the word “ugh” to persuade readers is just unappealing when reading a text, especially when written with the intent to stop young teens from preforming “undesirable” crimes. Take the higher ground, please. Additionally, if graffiti is the biggest issue at hand in the area that needs discussion, I am quite surprised. Is this really the focus of articles these days? Furthermore, these are obviously young kids who need time to develop and grow, as ALL 20 year old kids do. Why list first, middle, and full name with photos as if pretending they are adults charged with full blown crimes worthy of hard jail time? Instead of bringing attention to the 2 individuals of what is clearly a multiple person problem, I believe the classy and respectful thing to do would be to instead rework the article, focusing the theme on WHY graffiti and tags and unhelpful and unwanted by the community. Graffiti is an art form, lets not discredit the whole movement.

D.Dial April 21, 2014 - 9:21 am

FYI, old iPhones, iPads, iPods can be used as motion detect surveillance cameras. There are several aps than can be had. Email alerts inform of any activity on the surveillance camera.

Fred Mertz April 20, 2014 - 8:02 pm

The thing I find most interesting about this is the police are finally changing their tactics. It used to be you had to be caught with the can of paint in your hand. The paint had to be wet. You had to be caught in the act. Very hard to catch.

Hats off to the Asheville Police Department for actually thinking about things. Putting 2 and 2 together! Or in this case 1 and 1 together. It is about time.

As far as the tags on the Hunter Banks mural it was not done by the same people. Someone other than the APD has found out who “Tride” is and is rumored to have talked him into correcting his work on that mural.

Most crimes with property damage or theft are usually figured out without the help of APD. It is sad. I am surprised no one has been seriously hurt.

rick April 19, 2014 - 12:22 am

I’m getting close to finding out the alleged identity of a couple of these guys. Where would be the best place to release the information?

Don April 17, 2014 - 11:48 pm

Wow, I can’t believe those punks messed up that mural, they better leave Asheville. Someones gonna get clocked!

ashevillain April 18, 2014 - 3:35 pm

They didn’t. They tagged an alley off Lexington.

TRIDE tagged the mural and has not been caught.

This is admittedly a confusing point as the author combined 2 stories into 1 blog post.

Harry April 17, 2014 - 11:09 am

Somebody club that smug little SOB.

Katherine April 16, 2014 - 11:58 am

What is the point of “tagging” unless it’s a gang symbol marking territory?

SMH – I don’t get it.

H. Walsh April 15, 2014 - 9:05 pm

What’s with these “out of town” taggers? Fine them heavy and make them clean it off.

NFB April 16, 2014 - 10:24 am

And make them pay every penny for the cleaning supplies they’ll have to use.

Mark B April 15, 2014 - 8:18 pm

the fact that the taggers are usually smiling/smirking in the mug shots says maybe the penalties need to be increased until they are taken seriously. I suggest capital punishment. Public hangings? Those used to be fun.

Rick April 15, 2014 - 8:02 pm

I see the “tride” tag everywhere. It is always around a moms, burst, or ruiner tag. I have heard rumors that they all might be from the same person. Also my friend who works at Warren Wilson says he sees the same tags on Warren Wilson’s property, leaving him to believe it might be a current or former student.

jtroop April 15, 2014 - 7:04 pm

i was wondering when some of the artwork around town would start getting tagged…. ugh is right!

ashevillain April 15, 2014 - 6:24 pm

“Attached are the tags that were observed on the rear of the building at 98 North Lexington Avenue.”

Where can we see these attachments?

Jason Sandford April 15, 2014 - 6:40 pm

I will post a photo, but it was blurry.

ashevillain April 16, 2014 - 9:47 am

It is blurry but it is also better than nothing. Thanks.

Looks like it says LEAM, which is also repeated in different font below and to the right of the main tag there.

JT April 16, 2014 - 11:02 am

“TRIDE” is all over the place and has been for years, I hope they can charge him for each one. Tagging on top of a mural is really repulsive.

theyhearda April 15, 2014 - 6:09 pm

Wow these avl taggers suck at evading police. Are you trying to get caught?

Jason W. April 15, 2014 - 5:58 pm

Tagging someone else’s artwork is low, even by street art standards.

Dylar April 17, 2014 - 1:54 pm

There’s no such thing as “street art,” it’s just degenerate trash like everything else that has been crapped out by “artists” since about 1890 or so.

Butt April 17, 2014 - 4:53 pm

“since about 1890 or so” what are you talking about? Graffiti and tagging started in the 1970s.

Dylar April 17, 2014 - 5:53 pm

Modernism and everything that followed, circa 1890-present. Total bullsh-t.

Don April 17, 2014 - 11:49 pm

Ok, dumb-ass

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