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Rick Romley Indicts "Jugz" Graffiti Writer Joel Delgado

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Interim Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley's office today announced the arrest and indictment of the man it calls "the worst graffiti vandal in Phoenix," 27-year-old Joel Delgado, who tagged under the handle "Jugs" or "Jugz."

Actually, I've seen worse graffiti, based on some of the photos the C.A. has provided to the press. Of course, the C.A. wasn't referring to the aesthetics of Delgado's tags, which in some cases, you must admit, are more intriguing than a blank utility box.

Someone should have told this guy that a police interrogation room is not the ideal location for self-analysis. The C.A. says the indictment could score Delgado 6.25 years in the slammer. That confession likely didn't help.

Supposedly, the cops have some newfangled technology that helps them track down these evil-doers. Like iPods, and these things called computers. Hey, what did you expect, Seth Rogan in The Green Hornet?

On the flip side, you could say that Delgado allegedly kept Graffiti Busters busy cleaning up an estimated $20K in damage. Which, of course, can go into the next budget request. Without taggers, there'd be a lot of cops and wall buffers out of work. Not to mention attorneys.

Okay, by the C.A.'s account, Delgado was a tool. Graff writers should confine themselves to public property, which is usually ugly enough as is. A little graffiti doesn't mar things, there. Particularly if it's well done. A church, of course, is way out of bounds. Unless you take your atheism really seriously.

What we need more of is better graffiti, pieces, tags, murals, and wheat-pasted street art. Helps this burg look more like a real city. You know, like Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, etc.

I'm not suggesting the Phoenix PD stop enforcing laws against graffiti. That's all part of the game: Not getting caught. And, um, not confessing. The thrill that graff writers get is, in part, the thrill of avoiding detection.

So wear the ninja outfit, fellas. Clam up if you're sweated by the bulls. (You can do that, you know. It's in the Constitution.) Don't hit houses, mom and pop stores, places of worship, and the like. And practice your skills. Because graffiti can be art, but there's nothing worse than bad art. 

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