Grand Canyon Graffiti Suspects Apprehended

On May 22, a man and a woman were observed by a visitor at the Grand Canyon’s South Rim to spray-paint graffiti on a rock near the Yavapai Geology Museum. The black graffiti, reading “Evans 16,” was a clear case of vandalism that led to a search for the culprits by the National Park Service’s (NPS) Investigative Services Branch and the Grand Canyon National Park’s Park Rangers. The search was aided by photographs of the pair of vandals taken by the observer.

On June 9, the NPS announced that it had apprehended the suspects. The apprehension was likely made possible by an NPS Facebook post that was shared by 16,000 people on the social media site. The post included photos of the couple and the graffiti with a 1-888 tip-line telephone number. Following the capture, NPS officials issued a statement thanking members of the public “for their interest in and assistance with the investigation.” However, the officials did not release the names of the apprehended suspects, because the investigation was “still an open, continuing case…”

The NPS and other federal agencies take graffiti and other vandalism seriously. In February, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) launched an investigation into “Grease: Live!” actress Vanessa Hudgens and her actor boyfriend after the couple posted an Instagram photograph of a romantic carving they made into a red rock wall in Coconino National Forest. A USFS spokesperson noted that it is a violation of federal law to damage “any natural feature or other property of the United States.” The maximum penalty for such a crime is $5,000 and/or six months in jail.