Update: Police identify suspects in cryptic red spray paint vandalism case
–The Paso Robles Police Department on Tuesday evening identified two suspects involved in the red spray paint graffiti reported at several locations in town.
“On Saturday the police department responded to several reports of graffiti in town,” the department posted to social media. “After a few days, we were able to track down two suspects who later confessed to the vandalism.”
Ben Delashmutt and Michell Baranek, both 43 years old, of California Valley, will have charges filed against them with the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s office for felony vandalism.
“Thank you to those citizens that assisted PRPD in solving this crime,” the police said.
Original report on March 2, 2021:
At least six places were marked with unusual messages
–Several locations in Paso Robles were vandalized recently with red spray paint spelling out cryptic messages.
At least six taggings were discovered Saturday morning: at a Walmart parking spot and two sides of an old yellow school bus parked nearby, a Kennedy Club Fitness sidewalk, and two places at Pacific Premier Bank. All were close to the intersection of Niblick and South River roads.
The graffiti included messages similar to each other, such as “50 Xerox Kin Eagle Ct. SOS 911”, “JRC MIA 911 Eagle Ct SOS”, “IBIDN 1650 Eagle Ct. SOS Shanghai.”
There is an Eagle Court in Paso Robles. It’s a quiet cul-de-sac by the Paso Robles Golf Club with no such address. The old school bus appears to be abandoned with no license plates, markings, or signs of habitation.
Images of the vandalism were posted to social media and generated a stir with over 100 comments from locals worried about gang threats, a cry for help, mental illness, and even a cult involving the granddaughter of the founder of Xerox.
“Those words aren’t consistent with gang graffiti,” said Paso Robles Police Chief Ty Lewis. “Seems more likely to be something else.”
Keith Swank, general manager of Kennedy Club Fitness, first noticed the vandalism Saturday morning. He said he doesn’t know what it is all about. “It’s weird stuff and in several places. I guess it’s a prank but very complex for that.”
By Monday afternoon Paso Robles Police said they have identified a suspect in the case. “We have found a suspect, we are not ready to release it yet,” said Paso Robles Police Commander Caleb Davis. Expect more information to be released soon, he said.