Friday, September 26, 2014

Mystery penguin tags popping up in Ocean Beach

Sept 24, 2014
SAN DIEGO - Residents in Ocean Beach want to know who is behind mysterious penguins that have been popping up around town. Whoever is responsible uses a stencil to paint the penguins as fast as they can in public places. 10News reporter Robert Santos found out that as harmless as the tags look, not everyone is happy with them.

In Ocean Beach, it is clear people love art. It is everywhere: on utility boxes, on the sides of buildings and even on trash cans. But those are legal.  There is one painting – or technically graffiti – that has been popping up around Ocean Beach unauthorized. It shows a stenciled penguin with a heart. "It was right here," said Ocean Beach Elementary Principal Marco Drapeau as he showed 10News where parents first spotted the penguin. He had his workers cover up the tag right away but not before a resident snapped a photo of it and sent it in to the local newspaper, the "OB Rag," asking, "What's up with all the penguin stencils around Ocean Beach?" "We had this brand new paint job so it stuck out pretty quickly," said Drapeau.
Jeff Rathause, the owner of the Second Chance Sport shop, says his store was tagged with the penguin as well. "When I pulled up to work, I said, 'There's another thing there,'" said Rathause.
The penguin was painted next to a peace sign that another vandal tagged years ago on the roof of his shop. "Nobody knows what it (the penguin) means. Didn't seem too mean or anything, so I left it up," added Rathause.

10News found another penguin stenciled near the skate park on the sidewalk and on the freeway ramp off Interstate 8. They are nowhere near as elaborate as the satirical street art of guerilla graffiti artist Banksy, who is known worldwide. Wikipedia describes Banksy's tags as "anti-war, anti-capitalist or anti-establishment. Subjects often include rats, apes, policemen, soldiers, children and the elderly."

The penguin graffiti is not as destructive as the damage caused by two vandals who etched more than 90 windows in Ocean Beach, causing tens of thousands of dollars in damages. Still, when 10News showed the penguins to the Ocean Beach Main Street Association, they had one message to this latest mystery vandal. "We don't appreciate tagging. Period," said Denny Knox.

If caught, graffiti vandals in San Diego can be fined and send to jail or juvenile hall. If they are minors, parents can be held responsible for up to $25,000 worth of damage.

No comments: