SAN MATEO (CBS SF) — A well-known Australian graffiti artist has pleaded guilty to vandalizing several BART cars while visiting the Bay Area and could be sentenced to 9 months in San Mateo County jail, authorities said.
Matthew Raoul White, a member of an Australian tagging crew known as “Get Hectik,” was arrested at San Francisco International Airport on December 28th. At the time of the arrest, the 33-year-old White was awaiting a flight to Sydney and had spray paint on his clothing and shoes.READ MORE: UPDATE: Pleasant Hill In-And-Out Reopens for Drive-Thru, Carryout After Health Department Shutdown
He is well-known in Australia for his prolific graffiti tagging and his group has its own YouTube channel showing members damaging transit cars in Australia, confronting transit personnel and tagging cars in New York.
BART Police Chief Ed Alvarez said Australian authorities gave his department a heads-up that White was coming to the U.S.
“We were doing a lot of investigative work behind the scenes with Australia and New York.” Alvarez said.READ MORE: Newsom Receives COVID Vaccine Booster At Oakland Event Promoting State's Vaccination Push
White was suspected of tagging a number of BART cars during the first week of December at BART facilities in Contra Costa and San Mateo counties, including BART’s new “fleet of the future” rail cars.
On Wednesday, he pleaded guilty to felony vandalism. He admitted to spray painting the moniker “Bamp Floss” and the letters “GH” on a train in Millbrae.
Courts in Australia have labeled White a public nuisance for his graffiti activities. He was also arrested in New York in 2016 along with two others for allegedly trespassing at a Bronx train depot in order to vandalize a train.
White faces two counts of felony vandalism and is being held on $400,000 bail. His first court date set for January 10.MORE NEWS: UPDATE: Broken Water Main in San Jose Cancels Elizabeth Holmes Trial Proceedings
Investigators are looking for others who may have been involved in the BART train vandalism.