Accused tagger allegedly told police it's 'no big deal'

A 19-year-old San Gabriel man pleaded not guilty Tuesday after he was allegedly linked to 31 tagging incidents at Glendale Community College, officials said.

Joseph Lara, who was attending the college at the time of the tagging, was charged with one felony count of vandalism, according to a Los Angeles County Superior Court criminal complaint.

“There is no place for it on our campus,” campus Police Chief Gary Montecuollo said.

Lara allegedly used the moniker “Boris,” which represents a clothing company, when he allegedly tagged it throughout the campus from October to April 19 this year, Glendale Police Det. Jeff Davis said.

The damage was estimated at $2,235, he added.

A police cadet at the college spotted the tagging on Lara's notebook, which subsequently led police to identify him as the alleged vandal, officials said.

Police on Sunday served a search warrant on the home of Lara's parents and allegedly found the moniker tagged on a notebook and other material in his bedroom.

In a later interview with police, he allegedly admitted to committing the vandalism, Davis said.

Lara allegedly told police that he started tagging because some of his friends were also doing it and he didn't think it was a “big deal” or would be “taken seriously,” Davis said.

Lara also reportedly told police that he thought acts of vandalism, including tagging, were considered a misdemeanor, Davis said.

“We do investigate all acts of vandalism, regardless of the dollar amount,” he said.

Glendale Community College officials on Tuesday declined to comment on Lara's enrollment status. But according to the college's student conduct policy, any student who commits acts of misconduct, including vandalism and destruction of campus property, is subject to disciplinary actions.

Students can be reprimanded, ordered to pay restitution, suspended or expelled.

To expel the student, the college's president must present the action to the Board of Trustees, which makes the final decision.

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