Tattoo business helps Rifle police make graffiti arrest
Citizen Telegram Editor
An 18-year-old Rifle man was arrested Thursday in connection with a rash of spray-painted graffiti vandalism incidents, Police Chief John Dyer said.
Joshua Brown was arrested on suspicion of criminal mischief and may be responsible for causing at least some of an estimated $10,000 to $20,000 in damage to private and public property, Dyer said.
“That would easily be a felony level” charge, he added.
The 9th Judicial District Attorney’s office will decide what charges to file. Brown was booked into the Garfield County Jail in Glenwood Springs on Thursday afternoon.
“We think there may be more suspects, too,” Dyer added.
Police received more than 50 reports of spray-painted graffiti vandalism throughout the city between Dec. 2-10, Dyer said.
“We haven’t had any since, which isn’t unusual,” he stated. “Once they figure out we’re aware of what’s going on, it stops.”
A key tip that helped lead to Brown’s arrest came after a Rifle business owner, Rhonda Hunter, who owns the Inkology tattoo store at 227 Railroad Ave., offered a $500 tattoo to anyone with information that leads to the conviction of someone involved in the vandalism, Dyer added.
“I was driving home one night in South Rifle and saw a garage door that had been vandalized by graffiti,” Hunter said. “Then the next morning, an officer stopped in and asked me to keep my ears open and let him know if I heard anything.”
Hunter said she also wanted to let people know that most graffiti artists “are good people, too,” so posted her “reward” on her store’s Facebook page and had a response.
“I said I’d be willing to act as a go-between if they wanted to remain anonymous, but they said they’d talk to the cops and they did,” Hunter said. “I don’t know any details about what they told them.”
Born and raised in the Rifle area and a tattoo artist for seven years, Hunter said she takes a lot of pride in the city’s appearance.
“I know I wouldn’t want to repaint my business or my home if this happened to me,” she added. “So I just thought a small token of a $500 tattoo was worth my talent and time if it gets it stopped.”
Dyer said the investigation is continuing, so he could not release more information.
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