CAMARILLO : Removal of Graffiti Costs City $8,900

Light and telephone poles, fences, walls and signs throughout Camarillo have suddenly begun to sport the spray-painted word "LOOK" during the past several weeks, costing the city $8,900 to remove.

Ventura County sheriff's deputies said they are on the lookout for the vandals, whose work is a felony because of the extent of the damage.

"It's considered definitely a problem," Sheriff's Sgt. Keith Lazz said. "It's been all over town."

Areas hit so far include Camarillo Village Square, Las Posas and Arneill roads, the Charter Oaks residential area and Temple Avenue between Las Posas and Ponderosa Drive. One resident reported finding the graffiti sprayed on his newspaper one morning, Lazz said.

If the vandals are caught in the act, they will be charged for labor and materials used to cover up the paint, said Ernie Villasenor, Camarillo streets superintendent.

When city workers find the graffiti, they mask it immediately. "That deters them from doing it again," he said, adding that graffiti appear more often during summer months and winter holidays when teen-agers are out of school.

Lazz said authorities have no idea who may be responsible for the graffiti, only that they are being painted primarily in the early morning and late evening.

The new Camarillo chapter of the Ventura County Crime Stoppers Program is offering up to $1,000 reward for any information that leads to the arrest of the vandals.

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