Alleged tagger arrested after work appears on YouTube

Alleged tagger arrested after work appears on YouTube

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"Buket" seen applying his moniker to an MTA bus in broad daylight as passersby and passengers watch in surprise.

Authorities say 'Buket' is responsible for $150,000 in property damage in the L.A. area.

By Andrew Blankstein, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
2:13 PM PDT, May 27, 2008

» Discuss Article (73 Comments)
"Buket" is one of Los Angeles' most prolific taggers -- but he doesn't exactly work in the shadows.
The tagger is featured in several heavily viewed YouTube videos defacing signs and buses. His most popular video -- with nearly 170,000 page views -- shows him scaling an overpass of the Hollywood Freeway near Melrose Avenue and tagging the structure as traffic speeds below.

'Buket' YouTube video (Strong Language)

'Buket' YouTube video (Strong Language)

Authorities say Buket's moniker had adorned hundreds of freeway overpasses, concrete walls and transit buses across the state and southern Nevada. He is believed responsible for upward of $150,000 in property damage along the Los Angeles River and in the areas patrolled by the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department.

But sheriff's deputies said today that "Buket," whose real name is Cyrus Yazdani, could be out of commission for quite a while.

The 24-year-old man was detained this morning when he showed up to meet his probation officer. He is expected to be booked on multiple charges of felony vandalism, sheriff's officials said.

Law enforcement deals with hundreds of taggers across the city. But it is how and when Yazdani chooses to vandalize property that has earned him special attention from law enforcement, said Los Angeles County Sheriff's Sgt. Augie Pando.

"It's blatant disregard for other people's property," Pando said.

Rather than work clandestinely or under cover of darkness, sheriff's deputies say Buket prefers an in-your-face approach.

Another daylight attack captured on video appears to show "Buket" applying his moniker to an MTA bus as passersby and passengers watch in surprise.

The Internet, whether it's YouTube or social networking sites, is helping fuel a new explosion in graffiti tagging, albeit with editing and soundtracks. But investigators say it also is helping them build better cases against the vandals.

Earlier this year, another prolific tagger, Gustavo Romero, was sentenced to a year in jail for etching his "Guser" moniker on dozens of Metro buses.

Romero, 23, of South Los Angeles, caused at least $108,000 in damage to property over a two-year period. He pleaded guilty to 49 felony charges.


  • honestly, people don't really seem to care, especially with the MTA bus graffiti thing. I didn't see a single paserby stop to say and look at the guy. Maybe they do this in Memphis too, we just don't realize it either...

  • This is always an awkward one in my opinion. On one side what they're doing can be quite easily viewed as vandalism, on the other it's got a certain artistic merit.

    I'm just wondering how much of the merit comes from the fact that it is vandalism... I can't help but feel quite a lot so if they didn't get arrested/fined every now and again it'd lose a lot of its edge.

  • Let him draw all over his cell wall.Give him as much time to express himself as he needs no less than a year though. Hopefully he will develop a more useful hobby for when he gets out. I'm justa saying!

  • I guess the guy just want to be able to use busses and other public surroundings as an art tool. This reminds me of the one story that was in the U of M student newspaper about the dude that has his graffiti around the campus. Maybe he should have did his graffiti on places that are acceptable rather than just bucking the system.

  • If he was doing it in more acceptable places he'd have no recognition whatsoever.

  • B, you do make a point there. However, I will go against the statement because I would rather be productive in showing my work than breaking the law. Not everyone can graffiti something up and get a way with it.

  • In Los Angeles it is more and more difficult to make a name for yourself if you are a graffiti artist. You have to keep reaching higher and hit more and more dangerous spots.

    If you are interested, this was first shown on the local Los Angeles NBC news before it hit the LA Times.

  • I'm saying the two go hand in hand though, remove the vandalism aspect, the grafitti loses a lot of its appeal to everyone.
    and some of them will have to be arrested, it is vandalism after all.