Tagger Is Ordered to Pay $100,000


A Calabasas man who police allege tagged from Los Angeles to the Canadian border has been ordered to pay $100,000 in restitution to cover local cleanup costs, authorities said Monday.

Timothy Jody Badalucco, 20, who was extradited to Los Angeles from Seattle last year, was sentenced last week on charges of felony vandalism. Under the plea agreement approved by Superior Court Judge Maureen Duffy-Lewis, Badalucco was placed on probation and must spend 1,000 hours cleaning up graffiti, in addition to paying the fine.

“We are trying to send a message that it’s not worth tagging anymore,” said California Highway Patrol Officer Randy Campbell, who tracked Badalucco all the way to Washington state. “People are tired of the blight and the costs associated with removing it.”


Campbell, a 12-year veteran and graffiti task force coordinator for the CHP, said that Badalucco was responsible for defacing dozens of buildings, freeway signs and other property in Los Angeles County between February 1995 and May of last year.

Badalucco admitted to tagging since age 12, Campbell said.

He was first convicted for spray-paint vandalism in 1993, and his father was assessed a $43,000 fine in the case.

In the latest case, a probation officer will monitor the young tagger to ensure he is complying with all the conditions of his probation, Deputy Dist. Atty. Lia Martin said.

“Typically, the probation officer will come up with a payment plan,” Martin said. “If he violates those terms the court will step in and he could face up to a one year in County Jail or three years in state prison.”

The April 8 sentencing does not preclude other counties or cities filing their own charges, Campbell added.

“I’ve personally seen his moniker in San Luis Obispo. I’ve had people tell me he’s been in San Francisco. A Los Angeles MTA officer has seen his moniker in Vancouver,” Campbell said.


Campbell first noticed Badalucco’s handiwork--the moniker GKAE--in downtown Los Angeles in 1994. “He was known for big pieces, balloon letters filled in with colors, and he was well known for going to the highest, hardest places to get,” he said.

Still, it wasn’t until months later that the officer made the connection between GKAE and GANKE, which Badalucco had spray painted on property resulting in his 1993 arrest.

Meanwhile, Campbell said, Badalucco thumbed his nose at the law: He appeared, in disguise, on a talk show bragging about his tagging exploits and was written up in a tagger magazine.

But last summer, Badalucco’s luck changed. In an Internet chat room for taggers, Campbell found that someone who went by the initials GK had moved to Seattle. Campbell quickly set about warning Seattle authorities and sent them copies of Badalucco’s moniker.

Within months an officer caught him vandalizing a building at the University of Washington, but he was let off with just a citation. Soon afterward, Badalucco was arrested at a loud party, and within weeks he was back in Los Angeles County facing felony charges.

He spent more than six months in jail before the plea agreement was reached.

“When he was a juvenile he was never forced to pay for his crime,” Campbell said. “Now, all of a sudden he’s in jail, and looking at state prison. I believe this opened his eyes a little bit.”