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Dozens of businesses vandalized with spray paint

A vandal tagged buildings throughout Grass Vallely Saturday night, causing thousands of dollars in damages.
Photo courtesy Brenda Jo English

Police say a vandalism suspect covered more than a mile and a half during an extensive tagging spree over the weekend that caused an estimated $5,000 to $10,000 in damage.

“Between 20 and 25 businesses were tagged,” said Grass Valley Police Sgt. Clint Bates.

According to Bates, the vandal late Saturday spray painted walls and fences from the 400 block to the 600 block of South Auburn Street, as well as many businesses in the McKnight Crossing Shopping Center, from Kmart at one end to Papa Murphy’s at the other end. The suspect then went to the Pine Creek Shopping Center on Freeman Lane and tagged almost every business starting at the Hospice of the Foothills thrift store and ending at the rear of Raley’s, Bates said.



“It’s very obviously the same suspect,” he said.

There is an active investigation, Bates said, adding that surveillance video revealed a younger white man spray painting the walls of one business.



A Grass Valley police officer arrested a man on South Auburn Street after a short foot chase, but he proved not to be the suspected vandal, Bates said.

The officer, who was refueling his patrol vehicle as he was coming off the graveyard shift, saw a man crouched near a dumpster in the 700 block of South Auburn Street, close to some of the tagging, Bates said.

The man fled into some blackberry bushes and headed toward the highway, but was taken into custody after a short foot pursuit. As it turned out, although he was not the vandal, he admitted to having been trying to break into coin machines at the car wash, Bates said.

The man, identified as Andrew Johnson, 35, was booked into the Nevada County Jail on two counts of second-degree burglary, two counts of vandalism, and one count each of resisting an officer and possession of burglary tools. He remained jailed Monday on $15,000 in bond, reports state.

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at lizk@theunion.com.


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