SAN JOSE (KCBS) – A judge ordered the graffiti artist Steven Free, known among taggers as Girafa, three years probation and a hefty fine for painting thousands of images of giraffes on public and private property throughout San Jose.

Free pleaded guilty to two felony counts of felony vandalism and two misdemeanor counts as part of a plea deal in which authorities dropped six other counts against him.

KCBS’ Margie Shafer Reports:

“We hope that this serves as a good lesson not only to Mr. Free but anyone out there that’s considering vandalizing or committing this type of activity, that we will come after you,” said Officer Jose Garcia, a spokesman for the San Jose Police Department.

The department’s Graffiti Task Force used software that tracks tagging styles to connect Free, now 32, to the giraffe paintings. The San Jose in turn matched similar images on social networking sites that identified him.

The case slowly made its way through Santa Clara County Superior Court after Free, a San Francisco resident, was arrested in 2009.

Under the plea deal reached this week, Free will pay $38,000 in restitution for clean-up costs associated with work authorities consider blight.

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Comments (9)
  1. Johnny K says:

    I wish more of these people got caught and charged. Graffiti makes everything look cheap and childish.

  2. HooDatIS? says:


  3. Supporter says:

    Graffiti makes a city look alive…like people aren’t just going from point A to point B like a mindless robot but actually living. I commend Mr. Free for his unique style and dedication to the cause.

  4. Kelby Poppe says:

    Graffiti is a form of art and expression. I’ve loved this mans work since I was a child. It has symbolic meaning too, it’s not a pointless less on street, it’s a beautiful master piece. Nobody deserves to be punished because of their creative.Long live long necks!

  5. Project P. says:

    if it wasn’t for the writing on the wall we would have no idea what or where man has been and done before us…. we have all seen the work he put in,

    don’t be sad cause nobody cares about your name or who you are.

  6. meow mix says:

    childish sure does make me not want to move into an area like that get over it it will never stop or be stopped

  7. Chris Spalaris says:

    He’s probably another illegal alien.
    Make him pay the fine and then deport him immediately.

    1. Drew says:

      His name is Steven Free. I’m pretty sure he’s not an “alien”.