7:15pm | Long Beach City Prosecutor Doug Haubert announced Friday that a local graffiti vandal who defaced a building near 20th Street and Long Beach Boulevard has been sentenced to six months behind bars.
The tagger, Francisco Barreras, 20, was found guilty of misdemeanor vandalism for spray- painting the name of his gang on the wall of a privately owned building in 2010. He also received a sentencing enhancement because the tagging was done for the furtherance of a street gang, Haubert said in a statement released by the City Prosecutor's Officer.
“A strong message needs to be sent to gang members,” Haubert, whose office prosecuted the case, said in the statement. “Aggressively prosecuting graffiti vandals who tag our streets is one way to send that message."
Barreras was also ordered to register with the Long Beach Police Department as a known gang member, something the City Prosecutor's Office said it requires for all gang-related crimes.
The tagger is set to reappear in court on April 28 for a restitution hearing, when he will be ordered to repay the victims to cover the graffiti removal costs the victims incurred, according to the City Prosecutor's Office.
Haubert lauded LBPD detectives for their investigation in the case, which resulted in Barreras' arrest and conviction.
The City Prosecutor's Office and the LBPD have teamed to put pressure on area gangs via what they called "innovative" anti-gang tactics, including gang injunctions.