Felony Charges Filed Over Freeway Graffiti In Everett And Snohomish County

December 19, 2020

Police Blotter

You may have noticed a lot of graffiti on signs, sound walls along Interstate 5 through Everett, Washington and on the pillars supporting overpasses and ramps in the area around Eastmont and Silver Lake. So has the State Patrol.

Photo courtesy Washington State Patrol

Photo courtesy Washington State Patrol

Charges have been referred to the Snohomish County Prosecutor on five men in Snohomish County after a months-long investigation into graffiti. Beginning in late 2019 Snohomish County Troopers observed a large increase in graffiti on Interstate and State Route bridges, traffic signs, and sound barriers in the southern and central areas of Snohomish County. The cost for WSDOT to cover the graffiti is estimated to exceed $100,000 a year for Snohomish County alone.

In response, Troopers started a POPS (Problem Oriented Public Safety) project to address the cost to taxpayers and frustration expressed by many drivers. Troopers actively search for graffiti daily, photographing and recording it for investigative purposes, and reporting it to WSDOT for prompt removal. Troopers obtained search warrants for social media accounts, reviewed surveillance video, and conducted several interviews. 43 charges of Malicious Mischief 3rd Degree (RCW 9A.48.090, gross misdemeanor) and 9 charges of Malicious Mischief 2nd Degree (RCW 9A.48.080, felony) have been referred to the Snohomish County Prosecutor’s Office.

Troopers will continue to investigate graffiti and refer cases for prosecution. In addition to the criminal charges, these cases are being shared with WSDOT and the Attorney General who may seek civil restitution for the damage. Removal of the estimated $50,000 of graffiti investigated on overhead traffic signs and bridges may require lanes of Interstates and State Routes to be closed for worker and motorist safety.

We are also sharing our investigative information with law enforcement partners to assist them with identification and prosecution of acts of graffiti on municipal and private property.

Troopers recommend that victims of “urban” graffiti quickly mark or cover it, report it, and remove it. “Urban” graffiti is highly valued by those doing it for its sharing and “likes” on social media, and marking or painting over it diminishes its photographic value.

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My Everett News is a hyperlocal news website featuring news and events in Everett, Washington. We also cover City of Everett information and items of interest to those who live and work in Everett.

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