BY MELINDA WILLIAMS
Clipper Staff Writer
NORTH SALT LAKE — One graffiti artist’s desire to show off his work has landed him in jail and has cleared the books of many of the graffiti cases North Salt Lake and Woods Cross police have investigated recently.
Matthew Quinn Todakonzie, 20, was booked into the Davis County Jail last week on charges of criminal mischief and criminal trespass.
Police were first led to a MySpace account, and then to a Facebook account, where Todakonzie allegedly had posted work similar to the drawings found on 12 businesses in North Salt Lake. They used his moniker.
An officer sent a friend request through a fake Facebook profile, and that allegedly revealed Todakonzie’s entire profile, Everett said.
North Salt Lake contacted Woods Cross detectives because that city also had seen an increase in graffiti.
“In the past year, we’ve had eight cases of graffiti that were fairly significant,” said Wood Cross Police Det. Adam Osoro. “Four or five of those cases were taken care of by this arrest.”
In recent years, most cases seen by Woods Cross Police have been fairly minimal, Osoro said.
North Salt Lake saw a peak in graffiti cases in 2010 with 71 cases. But with the help of Neighborhood Watch and the efforts of the city’s gang officer that number was cut.
“We nipped it in the bud,” Everett said. “The next year we dropped to 31 cases and it’s dropped every year since.”
Todakonzie’s arrest takes care of the bulk of cases North Salt Lake Police have seen this year.
Todakonzie recently moved to North Salt Lake from out of state, Everett said.
While many graffiti artists in the past have been gang members, there’s no indication Todakonzie is, said Osoro.
“What we’re seeing now is more individuals who are doing it for the notoriety,” he added.
The officers agree that painting is the best way to mitigate graffiti damage.
“The chemicals used for stripping away the paint can cause a lot of damage to the building,” Everett said, but admitted that repainting can be costly.