Alleged serial tagger appears in San Francisco court

SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - An accused serial tagger, 18-year old Andrew Yarbrough, went before a San Francisco judge Wednesday asking to have his charges reduced. Yarbrough has allegedly tagged the name "Cryst" across the city. He been charged with 10 felony and 25 misdemeanor counts of vandalism.

"This is one of the most egregious examples of graffiti and vandalism in the city," explained District Attorney spokesman, Alex Bastian. "If this particular example is one that warrants a misdemeanor, what example ever would warrant a felony?" By the city's Department of Public Works estimates, "Cryst" has done $50,000 damage to public and private property.

At least a dozen victims of "Cryst" and a few residents fed up with graffiti in the city came to court to show the judge they want the alleged crimes taken seriously. "I want him to clean up graffiti," said Alison Drain, whose home at Market and Castro streets has been tagged several times by "Cryst." "I want that to be his punishment."

Several people stood to denounce the tagging and urge the judge to keep the felony charges, but one man made the defendant cry. "If he is the one doing the tagging, he's crying for help," Rudy Valintino told Judge Brendan Conroy. That's when Yarbrough reached for a tissue. "I spoke to him and it hit his heart. because the boy's in pain obviously," Valintino said.

A representative from the Metropolitan Transportation Agency called graffiti in the city a "crisis" that deserves punishment. The District Attorney's office agrees. "If you are disproportionately responsible for numerous crimes," said Bastian, The punishment should be greater."

Yarbrough's next court appearance is a preliminary hearing on July 16th. The judge will decide if there's enough evidence to hold him over for trial, and make a decision on the defense's request to reduce the charges.