Tagging has its costs.
Just ask 18-year-old Brittany Beckley who tagged her street name on the downtown Community Centre last Dec. 6.
Beckley was with two other “taggers” – people who spray paint names or logos on public and private property – but they were never identified.
Instead, after examining the video surveillance, Beckley was pinpointed and charged with mischief.
“It’s a significant cost to taxpayers,” Crown prosecutor Adrienne Venturini told Judge Brian Saunderson on Monday in Campbell River provincial court.
Venturini pointed out that tagging is not a huge problem in the city, but left unchecked, every building could be defiled if nothing was done.
The next day, city work crews spent about $500 in labour trying to remove the spray paint from the bricks of the Community Centre, but their efforts weren’t good enough. So they brought in a professional sandblaster who removed the rest of the mindless scribble at a cost of $212.80.
At Monday’s court appearance, Beckley appeared before the judge wearing red high-top sneakers, blue jeans and a red checked jacket. Her medium length dark hair was highlighted with green dye.
She pleaded guilty to a single count of mischief and her lawyer, Angie Penhall, said that Beckley understands what she did was wrong.
But Judge Saunderson was perplexed.
“What’s the point of tagging? Why do you do it?” he asked the girl.
Beckley replied, “I like people knowing I was there.”
The judge just shook his head and asked, “How do they know it’s you?”
“They always seem to make the connection,” she replied.
The semi-retired judge still didn’t get it as he accepted a joint submission from the Crown and defence counsels. Beckley was ordered to spend three days in the RCMP jail cell and ordered to repay the city $212 for the sandblasting. She was given 60 days to repay the money which will come out of her income assistance which amounts to $612 a month.
On the bright side, Beckley is looking for work and intends to return to school in September.