SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — San Jose police Thursday announced the arrest of four men earlier this week suspected of graffiti vandalism that caused more than $50,000 in damage following a four-month investigation.

The suspects were identified as Cesar Diaz, 32; John Arquero, 21; Jordan Burgerson, 18; and Manuel Villagran, 18.

Officers executed five search warrants and arrested the four suspects, all San Jose residents, on Tuesday morning on felony vandalism charges.

They will additionally be charged with criminal street gang enhancements, police said.

Police on Thursday identified the men as members of a tagging crew known as “HYSU,” an acronym for “Have You Seen Us?”, that is responsible for at least 60 graffiti tags around the Bay Area and half of the tagging in San Jose.

“We put a pretty good dent in this group,” police Sgt. Kenneth Davis told reporters at a news conference Thursday afternoon.

KCBS’ Mike Colgan Reports:

He characterized a “tagger” as a graffiti vandal who goes on a “bombing run,” a term for loading a crate with backpacks containing items such as spray cans, gloves, graffiti design books, sharpies, and slap tags, and then going out in a bicycle or car to tag various parts of the city, such as the walls of freeways and bridges, light poles, and electrical boxes.

Davis said most graffiti vandals who are caught by police admit to the crime “because they want the fame.”

The arrests stemmed from an investigation that began in August and during which detectives identified roughly 80 taggers and arrested 50 people who had caused more than $100,000 in vandalism damage, said Davis.

Assistant Police Chief Rikki Goede said graffiti is “a huge financial drain” that affects the quality of life for all.

“We all have been affected by it,” she said. “Even with diminished resources we still can tackle these issues with the use of technology and collaborative efforts.”

The arrests are part of an ongoing effort by police to reduce graffiti vandalism, Davis said.

“We do have some other folks that we’re looking at,” he said.

Agencies that assisted San Jose police detectives include the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office, the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, the city’s Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services Department, CalTrans, Santa Clara County Valley Transportation Authority, and officers from Mountain View, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, San Leandro, and Hayward.

Anyone who sees graffiti or vandalism is asked to report the crime by calling 911 if the crime is in progress, or the city’s Park, Recreation and Neighborhood Services at (877) 249-0543. Photographs and information can also be submitted online at

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (11)
  1. Scott says:

    Um, one of them is 32 years old and was still tagging? Grow up much?

    1. MeMyself&I says:

      Why don’t you grow up and ask real questions? Don’t just put much at the end like a CHILD?

  2. JaneQPublic says:

    My thoughts EXACTLY!

    Instead of only sending these punks to prison for a year, I’d tack on an additional sentence requiring them to do community service of cleaning up graffiti – about $200K worth. ($50K damage they did x 4 guys = $200K.)

  3. Babaloo10 says:

    Tagging is like a dog leaving his pee on the fence. They just keep peeing all over the place. No one likes the smell of this pee. These jerks and ones like them in every town in America some severe punishments and especially for repeaters. However, with overcrowding in prisons, (now jails), what happens to them? A citation? This $50K damage is probably too much to let them go with citation. But we as the public, have GOT to figure a way to stop them. There’s got to be a way, but I don’t think anyone has come with anything in years. Why don’t we get clever and offer a reward? Pay people to report taggers with the stipulation that they will be prosecuted. Repeat offenders should do time.

  4. Hurricane says:

    Because the white taggers are already in jail!

  5. Hurricane says:

    Really. These guys need to GROW UP! Tagging???? Their parents must be really proud!

  6. Babaloo10 says:

    These jokers probably can’t and WON’T pay this bill when convicted. The part of society that doesn’t have any clue on how to raise, teach and discipline their children end up with slouches like these. Those people, including these perps should NOT BREED. No more children like these. Low educational skills, can’t read or write and can only make “marks” on other people’s property. Why didn’t their parents raise smarter people? This problem is rampant.

  7. redwhiteandbluenotblackorbrown says:

    wow I pay taxes and all cops can do is consider graffiti art a real crime. I think YOU all need to grow up and look at REAL problems like drugs, violence, theft and MURDER. Personally I feel insulted by the SJPD. This city is gang infested, I’m talking about Violent gangs not “writing crews”. That’s what we pay the city for, to buff over it, Police should spend more time on important issues and less clogging our system and over populated prisons with non-violent offenders. Less money in police force more into education budget please.

  8. Mister Polytech says:

    Everybody always talks so tough on the internet; but down on the streets they’re the scared little victims ‘cuz the don’t have the conojes to pack…Thank GOD for gun control in the state of Cali; where us criminals rule the streets because the sheeple are oh-so afraid of brakin da law, brakin da law! Don’t worry, if a crime occurs, the police will protect you when they show up in like an hour or so!

  9. ANDREW says:


  10. J C says:

    and bush is sleeping without a problem after killing so many ppl , i bet most of the ppl that coment vote for him….!!!! RIDICULOUS …………….!

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