Search warrant leads to 33 graffiti-related charges

Press Release

From Asheville Police Department:

Asheville – On May 1, 2014, at 6:30 AM, The Asheville Police Department executed a search warrant at 162 Johnston Blvd. in West Asheville. The Community Resource Officers (CRO’s) involved with the Graffiti Task Force received information that Chase Herrington Johnson, 17, was living there and using social media to share photographs of his graffiti work and communicate with other people involved in graffiti vandalism.

On April 23, 2014, Chase Johnson was arrested by APD and charged with damage to property for “tagging” a business on Haywood Road…his tag is EAWS. He was later released on $500 bond.

Since his April 23rd arrest, the investigation involving Johnson and his graffiti tagging continued. Through an extensive investigation by our CRO’s, Johnson’s graffiti work was identified through photographs and text messages of a number of locations in West Asheville. Johnson’s method of operation indicated he would generally go out all night to paint his graffiti on businesses, photograph it and send messages to others…and many times go back and take a better photograph of his work during the day-light hours. He also posted photos of stealing spray paint from Kmart, possession of illegal drugs, drug paraphernalia, handguns and a shotgun. The illegal drugs and one weapon were confiscated as part of the search warrant.

Utilizing the photos and messages, the Community Resource Officers were able to link Johnson to several locations where he had committed acts of vandalism by painting graffiti on local businesses. The investigation also involved reviewing video from Kmart and obtaining warrants on him for larceny of spray paint. Some of the graffiti locations are posted “no trespassing” or are protected by a fence. In those cases, the CRO’s have also obtained trespass warrants in addition to the damage to property warrants.

Johnson was not at home when the search warrant was executed and is currently wanted by APD on 33 charges including damage to property, trespassing, and larceny. The Asheville Police Department is asking for anyone with information about the whereabouts of Chase Johnson to contact the Asheville Police Department at 828-252-1110 or Crime Stoppers 828-255-5050.

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