Police make arrests in Northwest Albany graffiti case

The Albany Police Department arrests two men in connection with the recent streak of graffiti tagging in Northwest Albany.

Police arrested Calvin Benton, 20, and Alexander Delarosa, 21. They say the two are roommates and tagged possibly more than 20 locations. Benton and Delarosa are being charged with Criminal Trespass and Trespassing or Interfering with Government Property.

"You may think it's a simple crime but it defaces the community and it's a simple thing that if you don't pay attention to smaller things, bigger things could happen," says APD Chief John Proctor.

APD says the graffiti is not gang related, but rather the men wanted to express themselves and what they believe is their musical tastes. Lt. Tony Moore says, after some research, they believe "Coma" and "Sense" -- which have been commonly seen as graffiti around town -- are also punk rock bands.

The police department says they began their investigation in specific areas that were being tagged including Northwest Albany as well as Downtown Albany and Riverfront. They say as the tagging moved they broadened their search.

"Folks may think that you should clear these overnight. Sometimes it's not that easy. It takes some time but I think they pursued it; they put a lot of effort into it," says Proctor.

They say a break in the case came after a tip from Crimestoppers.

"About a week and a half ago we did a PSA, and we solicited the help of the community through Crimestoppers. A hit came through on Crimestoppers where Investigator (Schemika) Foster retrieved that information, and we were able to develop at least the very first subject," says Lt. Tony Moore.

Police arrested Benton first on Tuesday followed by Delarosa on Thursday.

Ward IV City Commissioner Roger Marietta says he commends the work of the Albany Police Department and for taking the graffiti cases seriously.

"That's been the city's policy. We recently adopted a new anti-graffiti ordinance to speed up the process to do it within five days, to clean it up within five days," says Marietta.

Police say they are seeking additional charges for Benton and Delarosa.

"This will be a deterrent to anybody else who would think to do something like this, not to do something like this," says Moore.