The Civil Guard detains a criminal group of graffiti artists for alleged damage to more than 2,000 trains in Europe

The Civil Guard Criminalistics Service has had to carry out a pioneering comparison of uninvited graffiti signatures

The operation has resulted in 4 detainees. In the records of one of the detainees, about 3 kilos of marijuana and hashish tablets were intervened

The economic damage for the damages would exceed 6,000,000 euros

The Civil Guard in the framework of the operation against damage to train cars by graffiti, has exposed a criminal group that could be related to this type of activities in more than 2,000 railway units, both in Spain ( Cantabria, Asturias, Burgos, Basque Country, Valencia, Madrid, Balearic Islands), as in other countries in Europe (Italy, Germany, Romania, Portugal, Holland, France and Sweden).

It is estimated that the economic damage to companies and the public treasury will exceed 6,000,000 euros.

The operation has resulted in four detainees, three men and a woman between the ages of 26 and 28. Two of the detainees resided in Burgos, another in Bizkaia and the fourth in Toledo. The alleged participation of the detainees would consist in the fact that the men would carry out the graffiti, while the woman would be in charge of logistic or image recording functions.

Painted on the Trascantábrico train

Investigations began at the end of June of this year when three men performed graffiti consisting of signatures or "tag", in wagons of the Transcantábrico train that at that time was at the Unquera station (Cantabria).
From the images obtained from the time the graffiti was made, the agents were able to identify different traits of the authors, which together with other police actions with people who performed these signatures, served to identify these three people, two of them resident in Burgos and Bizkaia who had known each other for years and had even been arrested together for making graffiti before.

Subsequently, the Civil Guard was able to establish connections between the four detainees, such as the existence of trips together, both in national and foreign geography, as well as identifications in places close to graffiti, which led to the suspicion of the existence of an organization dedicated to committing these graffiti.

Graphic study of signatures

Once the identity of the alleged authors of the graffiti to the Transcantábrico train was established, the investigating agents suspected that they could have performed other similar events.

For this reason, a photograph with one of the “tag” as an undoubted proof was made available to the Graphic Department of the Criminal Guard Service of the Civil Guard, as well as photographs provided in complaints of graffiti in train cars in Cantabria in 2018 and 2019, with the same signature.

On the part of the Department of Graphics of the Civil Guard a new study of comparison of the mentioned tests was carried out concluding that the author of that signature was the same person in all the contributed images, attributing at that time 17 graffiti in Cantabria trains surpassing the damages reported 65,000 euros.

More than 2,000 photographs of trains with graffiti

In the operation phase of the operation, two searches were carried out in the city of Burgos, one in the dwelling where the most active graffiti artist of the group resided, as well as in the domicile of the woman who accompanied him and performed the logistic functions where more than 2,000 photographs on graffiti paper have been intervened in trains, much of them with the "tag" of this graffiti artist, as well as computers and electronic storage memories with more graphic material and that is being studied.
Sketches have also been found, both with the current signature of this graffiti artist, as well as other “tags” that he uses, which are being analyzed with the images he has, as well as clothes with traces of paint and spray paint cans .

It should be noted that at the time of the arrests two of those investigated could presumably be in Copenhagen-Denmark performing graffiti on trains, according to images found. However, they were subsequently arrested as alleged perpetrators of damage offenses in railway units.

Drug trafficking as financing

In the registry carried out in the house of the neighbor of Burgos, about 3 kilos of marijuana buds and several hashish tablets, precision scales and various material for the dosage of the drug were intervened. Agents suspect that this person was dealing with drugs to finance his graffiti activity.

The investigation is still open given the large number of images and evidence obtained, while complaints are being collected by Renfe and by urban subway transport.

The operation has been directed by the Court of San Vicente de la Barquera (Cantabria) and developed by the Civil Guard of Cantabria with the collaboration of the Criminalistics Service of this Corps, and components of the Commanders of Burgos, Bizkaia and Toledo.

For more information, please contact the Peripheral Communication Office of the Civil Guard of Cantabria at 942.32.14.00 ext. 2410


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