2 Arrested In Skyscraper Graffiti That Irked LA And Looms Over Grammys

LOS ANGELES, CA — Police arrested two men suspected in the high-profile spray-painting of a high-rise building in Downtown Los Angeles, authorities announced Friday.

The vandalism, which took place a block from Crypto.com Arena where the Grammy’s will be held Sunday spanned more than two dozen stories of an unfinished skyscraper, marring the city skyline and sorely provoked city leaders. Police believe several more vandals were behind the tagging and are asking for help identifying those responsible.

The tagging happened Tuesday night. Los Angeles police were called to respond to a report of vandalism at a construction site in the 1200 block of South Figueroa Street. A tactical flight officer with Los Angeles Police Department’s Air Support Division observed over a dozen suspects in the building, trespassing and possibly spray-painting on the building, according to police. by the time additional patrol units arrived, most of the suspects had fled. Police arrested the two that remained.

According to the LAPD, the two suspects are Victor Daniel Ramirez, 35, and Roberto Perez, 25. Both were arrested on suspicion of trespassing and later released, police said.

On Thursday, high-rise vandals struck again.

An unfinished high-rise development in the downtown entertainment district that has become the target of graffiti taggers who have struck dozens of floors is seen in Los Angeles on Friday, Feb. 2, 2024. The towers were going to house a hotel and luxury condos, but the project stalled in 2019 when the Beijing-based developer ran out of money, the Los Angeles Times reported. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Officers responded to a call for vandalism at 12:52 p.m at the abandoned luxury skyscraper in the Oceanwide Plaza development under construction in the area of 11th and Flower streets. An on- site security officer told police a group of suspects had been spray-painting on the 30th floor of the building and had since drove away.

The officers located the vehicle and gave the driver commands to stop, however, the driver failed to yield, according to police. The vehicle was again located, and a traffic stop was conducted a short distance away. The driver was cited on suspicion of failing to yield to an officer. The passenger was questioned and released.

The development, known as the Oceanwide Plaza, a planned $1 billion multi-use complex in downtown Los Angeles, began construction some years ago, but stalled since 2019 when Beijing-based developer Oceanwide Holdings could no longer finance it. The complex would have brought online housing, hotel-use and retail stores, to build up the area near the Crypto.com Arena.

During Friday’s L.A. City Council meeting, Los Angeles City Councilman Kevin de León, whose 14th District includes the buildings struck by taggers introduced a motion that, if approved, would direct city departments to initiate the process of cleaning up Oceanwide Plaza, and the public sidewalks around it.

“Make no mistake, we will use all available legal remedies, including a lien on the property to correct their (the developer) neglect,” de León said at an early morning news conference on the corner of Hope and 12th streets. “Rest assured, we will get compliance.”

The motion also calls on the Department of Building and Safety, the Bureau of Engineering and the City Attorney’s Office to work in coordination to ensure that the property owner covers all costs incurred by the city as a result of their negligence.

“The city of Los Angeles is committed to the safety, cleanliness, and prosperity of our neighborhoods, de León said in a statement. “We will not tolerate blight and vandalism that diminishes the quality of life for our residents.”

In response to the vandalism, Nella McOsker, president and CEO of the Central City Association, issued a statement on behalf of the organization. McOsker called the vandalism “disturbing,” and encouraged city leaders to give “proper attention” to the area.

“While we appreciate LAPD’s swift response, we urge the city to take steps to address this blighted property before it becomes a further nuisance,” McOsker said in a statement.

Central Division detectives are investigating these cases. Anyone with information about them was asked to call Central Area Burglary Detective Lee at 213-833-3750.

During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 877-527-3247. Anyone who wishes to remain anonymous should call the L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477 or go to www.lacrimestoppers.org.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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