Graffiti train gang arrested for dozens of vandal attacks
National Police have arrested 18 graffiti artists who allegedly committed numerous “assaults” at Metro and Renfe stations.
The attacks were committed during the last weekend of Halloween in the Madrid stations of Cuatro Vientos, Casa de Campo, Las Rosas and Parque de los Estados de Madrid.
In addition, they are charged with 159 other crimes of damages valued at more than 650,000 euros committed on trains from different Spanish provinces. One of the detainees has been imprisoned and three others have been ordered to keep away from railway stations.
The investigations began in June of last year, after a coordinated operation with the Italian police to identify various members of a graffiti crew based in Madrid and Valencia. This group had travelled several times to Milan in recent years to carry out a “campaign” of graffiti on different transport wagons.
This group used the procedure of the “lever”, by which several members board the train accessing the interior of the rear cabin to force the access door. Once inside, they manipulate the driving mechanisms to stop the convoy, producing an abrupt braking of the train with the consequent risk of injuries among the users and causing the operator to lose control. With the train stopped, some of the graffiti artists carried out the graffiti with their personal signature whilst the others threatened passengers and subway personnel and recorded the scenes. Once the graffiti was finished, they fled the place.
Raids led to the seizure of a large number of effects such as computer equipment where the group stored their assaults, photo albums with their graffiti on trains and wagons, uniforms of Metro security personnel and spray cans. The majority of those investigated had all the walls of the houses painted with their signature.
“The detainees were very active and wanted to make themselves known internationally, spreading their actions through social networks or specialised forums in order to achieve fame and prestige in the graffiti environment. In the investigation it was possible to verify that some of them, and to finance them-selves the trips, stole and robbed all type of objects in commercial centres and even in other European cities,” said a police spokesman.
The operation is still open and more arrests are not ruled out.