Tagger sentenced in vandalism case

The graffiti artist who gained notoriety on YouTube with his daredevil tagging exploits pleaded guilty today to nearly three dozen felony vandalism counts and was released from jail after serving time since last May, prosecutors said.

Cyrus Yazdani, one of Los Angeles' most prolific taggers, who is known in the tagging world as "Buket," admitted to 32 counts with the special allegation that damage exceeded $50,000.

Judge Steven J. Kleinfield sentenced the 25-year-old San Jose State graduate to 10 months in county jail, 256 hours of graffiti removal and five years formal probation.

But with time served and credits for work and good behavior, Yazdani was out of jail by Monday afternoon.

Yazdani became something of an Internet sensation when he brazenly plastered his "Buket" bomb 20 feet above the busy Hollywood Freeway -- vandalism captured on videotape and posted with a rap soundtrack on YouTube and numerous tagger-related blogs.

Another daylight attack, which was also videotaped, appeared to show "Buket" applying his moniker to a Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus as passersby and passengers watched in surprise.

Authorities allege that between 2005 and 2007, Yazdani slapped his tags on buses, freeway walls and overpasses as well as the concrete lining of the Los Angeles River.

Los Angeles County sheriff's investigators arrested Yazdani in May, saying that his moniker has marked hundreds of freeway overpasses, concrete walls and transit buses across the state and southern Nevada.

He was believed responsible for upward of $150,000 in property damage along the Los Angeles River and in the areas patrolled by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department -- and at least as much in other parts of California.

Yazdani, who split time between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, where he was a graphic designer, already had been on probation after pleading no contest in 2007 to three counts of felony vandalism.

Prosecutors had been seeking state prison time in the case, said Los Angeles County district attorney's spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons.

"We objected to the jail sentence believing this is a very serious case that caused a lot of damage, and we asked for a state prison sentence," Gibbons said.

"If the defendant is involved in this type of activity again, that's exactly where he will end up," she said.


a ndrew.blankstein@latimes.com

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