NOTE: Video footage filmed in December 2014.
ST. GEORGE – A two-week investigation ended with an arrest Friday night as officers apprehended a St. George man who allegedly went on a a graffiti spree in a St. George neighborhood over Christmas weekend.
Friday, St. George Police located and apprehended 22-year-old Levi Ray Billsie, of St. George, after mounting evidence indicated he had been responsible for the incidents.
The Fraudulent Identity and Security Threat Unit, more commonly known as the gang unit, began investigating the case after multiple graffiti complaints, spanning from 1000 N. Dixie Downs Road to 1500 N. Dixie Downs Road, were received during the weekend of Dec. 26. It was concluded that all the graffiti had been done in one evening by the same person, St. George Police Sgt. Johnny Heppler, who supervises the gang unit, said.
“He went on a tagging spree,” Heppler said.
On Dec. 26 at approximately 4 p.m., Billsie allegedly began plastering black and gold graffiti over a five-block span, tagging various public and private surfaces such as power boxes, sheds, mailboxes and block walls. A few days later, City of St. George crews were called out to remove the graffiti, which included messages like like “P3yot3,” “BSC Peyota,” “Sketch,” “13” and some illegible scribbles.
Spray paint cans that were linked to the vandalism were found in Billsie’s possession. Based on physical evidence and information obtained from interviews and surveillance of the area, Billsie was taken into custody and questioned by investigators. He later admitted to committing the crimes, Heppler said.
Billsie, who also goes by the street name “Sketch,” painted gang-related symbols and words connected to a Southern California gang called Sureno 13.
The damages from the vandalism totaled about $8,000 dollars, Heppler said.
Billsie was booked into the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility on one second-degree felony charge for graffiti that resulted in $5,000 or more in damages. He is currently being held on $10,000 bail, according to current bookings information.
Graffiti in the City of St. George
The city usually has two to three new graffiti stains to clean up each week during the winter months, which is relatively low compared to summer, Bobby Randall, of the City of St. George’s Parks and Recreation Technical Unit, said.
“It’s an ongoing problem we have,” he said. “We probably spend a day a week removing new graffiti.”
The process of removing the graffiti from public property is time consuming, costly, and carried out at the expense of taxpayers.
Each square foot of cleanup costs $10 dollars, Randall said. If vandals are caught, they must pay the removal expenses as well as face prosecution.
When property is vandalized, St. George Police Sgt. Sam Despain said, it is found and removed as quickly as possible.
“We want people to realize it is a crime,” Despain said. “When people deface somebody else’s property, it can be very expensive to fix and clean off, and it’s something that our city and our Police Department takes very serious.”
Residents are encouraged to immediately report graffiti that is found on either public or private property, so it can be removed and the police can attempt to find those responsible.
Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
- To report vandalism, call the St. George Police Department at 435-627-4300 or fill out this request form.
- Additional information can be found here.
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