1708921843 The two czars of graffiti in San Sebastian de los

The two “czars” of graffiti in San Sebastián de los Reyes fall and are accused of painting more than 250 walls | Madrid | Spain

The sound of the aerosol suddenly breaks the solemn silence of the night. The boat spits out the initial R, followed by an O, the C and another O, engraved on number 40 of the Guadalajara promenade in San Sebastián de los Reyes (Madrid). According to local police, the graffiti artist, an expert in the field, repeated the process more than 150 times. But even the best baker's bread burns and before he can react, a uniformed man secretly approaches him from behind. The agent is aware of his athletic inferiority and tries to mislead him with a question about an alleged woman who asked for help on this street. The graffiti artist denies having heard anything, but the police have already gained a few meters and inform him that he has been arrested. This is the story that council sources tell about the arrest in connection with the fight against the children who, spray in hand, are trying to immortalize their signature on one of the remaining vacant spaces in this community.

A few weeks ago, the city police captured Roco. Days later, Kdys – who also signs as Kdis or Kdes – a minor credited with hundreds of graffiti, was killed. The city council has prosecuted both administratively and criminally, while prosecutions continue against another handful of graffiti artists who they say have already been identified. The team in charge of the municipality after last May's elections spent €200,000 on graffiti removal in the first seven months of its government.

Carlos Bolarín Díaz (44 years old), City Councilor Delegate for Security (PP), explains that the City Council's “comprehensive strategy” to expose graffiti artists began with the reactivation of the contract for the security cameras, which had expired since the previous mandate . Although the registry does not make it possible to verify the identity of the graffiti artists, who are always “sweatshirted and covered up,” it does help trace the perpetrators’ routes. In this way, it was possible to tighten the fence by identifying the neighborhoods or places of residence of some people.

A neighbor walks through the Plaza de los Olivares in San Sebastián de los Reyes (Madrid) on February 19th.A neighbor walks through the Plaza de los Olivares in San Sebastián de los Reyes (Madrid) on February 19th. Juan Jose Martinez

The greatest difficulty in the investigation is discovering the graffiti artists in the act, as this is the only way to connect them to the paintings. Using the videos from the surveillance cameras, the police stationed some undercover agents near the perpetrators' houses “morning, afternoon and evening.” Details about Bolarín: “[La Policía] He asks me to clean the walls where they operate to create a reputation effect. They want us to clean them so they can do graffiti again. This has happened before, when they erased a signature and “scratched it again the next day,” says the city council, in addition to messages dedicated to the city council such as “Mayor, I love you,” “This will not be erased.” The city council cleaned the walls and the graffiti artists took the bait: on February 8th Roco fell and on the 13th Kdys while putting their signatures.

If the damage caused does not exceed 400 euros, Section 263 of the Criminal Code provides for a fine of one to three months, the daily amount of which is determined by the judge based on the perpetrator's income. Given the number of signatures attributed to these graffiti artists, the city council wants to prove that the damage exceeds this value, which would increase the penalties to one to three years in prison or fines of between 12 and 24 months. However, to certify the authorship of the hundred signatures, the work of a handwriting expert is required, whose report must be approved by the judge.

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DR prefers to introduce himself using only his initials “for security reasons”. He is the legal expert of the local police of San Sebastián de los Reyes and is responsible for verifying that the other signatures of Roco and Kdys on the walls of the community belong to the identified people. “When we catch a graffiti artist in the act, we already have an indubitable signature, that is, one that leaves no doubt about his authorship.” With this signature we carry out graphological traceability to show that it is with “Identical to the others we found,” says DR, before detailing the process: “To organize the traceability, we take into account the typology of the graffiti, the way it is finished (if the Letters are painted from left to right or from top to bottom) or when more or less pressure is applied. If the characteristics appear, there is enough evidence to attribute the graffiti to the same author, emphasizes the expert.

The expert has reconstructed the style of both graffiti artists. Roco uses the Bubble Letters font, it leaves no space between letters, it writes downwards and tilts the spray downwards because “it's usually thinner at the top and wider at the bottom,” he explains. DR Regarding Kdys, he concluded that he prefers the Chrome Letters font with “more angular and less bulky letters” and that “there is a high probability that he is right-handed,” information that, the city council hopes , will convince the judge of the authorship of the graffiti. The expert confirms that “the error rate is very low”, perhaps at most 10%.

The signature of Roco, one of the graffiti artists identified by the municipal police of San Sebastián de los Reyes.The signature of Roco, one of the graffiti artists identified by the municipal police of San Sebastián de los Reyes.Juan José Martínez

The architectural style of San Sebastián de los Reyes, where brick facades predominate, makes graffiti cleaning more expensive. Removing a signature on a cobblestone wall costs around 23 euros; for a smooth wall the price drops to six euros. The Security Department has informed EL PAÍS that 919 square meters have been cleaned since July 2023.

The graffiti artists, adrenaline lovers, even steal the aerosols with which they paint the city, according to city sources, who also detail the profile of the prisoners: “It is not the stereotype of the depressed family that the child uses.” Graffiti as Form of expression.” In addition, they refer to “criminal behavior because there is a lack of empathy for the affected neighbors.”

The mural where Roco was arrested on February 8th while writing his signature with spray.The mural where Roco was arrested on February 8 while writing his signature with spray.Juan José Martínez

The establishment next to the wall where police arrested Roco is the Uomo hair salon, run by 47-year-old Sergio García. The man regrets that graffiti artists damage his premises with aerosol engravings: “It's a bit tedious because you give an image that doesn't correspond to the one you want to give to your customers.” And he points out: “It's called Not even art, that’s just vandalism.”

A few streets away, 34-year-old podiatrist Miguel García, whose clinic has become a target for graffiti artists, allows himself to distinguish between vandalism and urban art. “It's one thing to breathe life into an environment, but in the end it just makes it dirty,” emphasizes García. There is a spray-painted signature on its facade that is not currently being deleted: “If you clean it, you know you run the risk of being repainted.”

When night falls in San Sebastián de los Reyes, graffiti artists and police officers play cat and mouse. “We already know who they are and we want to catch them in the act,” warns the council. As police pressure increases, the local government is considering other measures such as updating the municipal ordinance on the protection of the coexistence of citizens to increase administrative penalties for this violation, or using an anti-graffiti layer on the paint to make it easier . Very easy to clean the spray. It's not an easy task. Although graffiti artists are elusive and know how to exploit the natural impunity of the night, the first legends have already fallen.

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Piece of urban art painted on the outskirts of San Sebastián de los Reyes.Piece of urban art painted on the outskirts of San Sebastián de los Reyes.Juan José Martínez

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