General Crime

* Tagger Steven Free Known as “Girafa” Arrested by San Jose Police for Felony Vandalism

UPDATE Click Here April 14, 2011 Steven Free AKA GIRAFA plead guilty to two counts of felony vandalism in connection with a 2009 graffiti investigation by the San Jose Police

Police in San Jose have arrested a San Francisco man they say is a prolific Bay Area tagger known by the moniker “Girafa.” Steven Free, 30, was arrested Tuesday after police from San Jose and San Francisco searched his home on Cabrillo Street in the city’s Outer Richmond neighborhood.  An investigation by the San Jose police graffiti enforcement unit linked Free to 10 felony cases of tagging in the city, according to Officer Jermaine Thomas. Each one features a cartoon depiction of a giraffe and a tagging moniker of “Girafa.”  Police estimate those 10 acts of vandalism cost a combined $40,000 in damage.  While investigating the taggings, San Jose police found pictures of similar Girafa graffiti on social networking sites. Officers said Free has committed vandalism acts in San Francisco, Alameda and Contra Costa counties, as well as other locations in Santa Clara County.  Free is considered “one of the most prolific taggers in the Bay Area,” according to San Jose police. He was booked into Santa Clara County Main Jail.

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  • Jay, you want him to lose a finger? Are you serious? Don’t be an idiot.

    Since when has Girafa spray painted anyone’s fucking car? I don’t think you know the work of this man in particular, and are instead lumping him together with people who hastily tag their initials over any and every thing they can. Writing your name across a billboard just for the hell of it is not what Girafa does. I can’t think of any street artist who would paint over some innocent persons car. There’s a difference between that kind of personal property and the walls of derelict buildings or blank stone walls in alleyways. You don’t know what you’re talking about.

    Sure, in a technical sense these are violations of the law. But I don’t think that decorating the pipes of derelict buildings to look like giraffe necks, or painting a colorful cartoon giraffe on a wall that’s ALREADY covered in gang graffiti is worthy of a felony offense. And definitely not losing a finger. There are lots and lots of people who enjoy seeing this man’s work around the city, and I’d rather see his work around town than giant walls covered in all variety of sloppy tagging work and gang insignia. I’m not going to argue the legal implications of this with you, except to say the punishment does not fit the crime. And go ahead and say it’s not art all you want, but that doesn’t make you right. It’s called “street art”. It’s an established medium. A lot of these guys even have art openings in galleries.

    Also, making the implication that people who support this guy are just a bunch of losers who work at McDonalds? Go fuck yourself. That doesn’t help your argument in any way other than to make you look like a huge asshole, which was already evident from the first sentence of your post.

  • Graffiti is NOT art. It is vandalism. I cannot believe that some of you want this hoodlum to get off withough punishment. Just wait until you all grow up and learn the value of personal possessions.

    If and when you own a car (one day you just may earn enough money at McDonalds to buy one) and some jackass takes a can of spray paint to it and scribbles their initials on it, then tell me that it is art and that it is nice and pretty.

    Do not free this vandal. I would prefer that the real punishment is that he loses a finger (the spray painting one). If he gets caught again, chop off his hand. If he is caught a third time, exterminate him, because he obviously has not learned his lesson.

  • oh dang, i remember seeing the girafe, haha! he did a good job though, but yeah don’t tag up schools and public areas, makes the city look a bit too hood.

  • His pieces were some of the best in my town duck the people who want to buff his art with ugly ass white paint as if that actually looks better

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