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Suspected tagger marked in White Rock

White Rock RCMP investigating a suspicious-vehicle report seized spray paint, nozzles, markers and other items Tuesday. - Contributed photo
White Rock RCMP investigating a suspicious-vehicle report seized spray paint, nozzles, markers and other items Tuesday.
— image credit: Contributed photo

An observant resident is being credited with potentially averting thousands of dollars in damage this week, by alerting White Rock police to a suspicious vehicle parked on High Street.

Const. Janelle Shoihet said police were called just after 9 p.m. Tuesday (Dec. 6) by a woman reporting an unfamiliar vehicle and driver in the 1500-block of High Street.

Officers investigating searched the vehicle after noting an odour of marijuana – and found so much more, Shoihet said.

In addition to a small quantity of marijuana, they seized alcohol, 38 cans of spray paint, more than 200 nozzles, 13 markers, gloves and other items.

While the driver, a 28-year-old Surrey man, denied using the items to commit vandalism, Shoihet said such a paint cache is "generally associated to graffiti artists."

"Joe Blow painter doesn't have 38 cans of spray paint and 200 nozzles," she said.

While police did not have cause to charge the driver, the items were seized and the incident will benefit ongoing efforts to curb graffiti, Shoihet said.

"It is really good intelligence for us," she said, noting police are working to identify graffiti vandals by connecting them with individual tags.

It's an effort that has seen success in other communities, she said, pointing to a plethora of charges laid recently in Alberta. There, a 19-year-old was charged with 176 counts of mischief in connection with a slew of graffiti offences in Edmonton.

Shoihet couldn't say for sure that a crime was averted with Wednesday's call. But given what police discovered, she said thanks is certainly due to the woman who made the call.

"We don't know what he was going to do later, or where he was going to go," she said. "We've taken away his tools to do that, for at least last night."

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