Jose Gomez was cited and released on charges of vandalism after a Tracy Fire Department official witnessed a man writing graffiti along 11th Street and alerted police.
Division Chief Andy Kellogg said he watched a man — later identified by the Tracy Police Department as Gomez — tag a railroad crossing arm and real estate business sign despite Kellogg’s efforts to get him to stop.
Kellogg, who was driving in an SUV with Tracy Fire Department logos, said he first saw a man write with an orange marker on a railroad crossing arm around 12:45 p.m. on 11th Street between Alden Glen Drive and Lincoln Boulevard. Kellogg said he tried to get the man’s attention with the vehicle’s horn.
“I was beeping at him, and he was ignoring me,” Kellogg said.
The division chief said the man walked east on 11th Street, where Kellogg said he defaced a nearby real estate business sign.
Kellogg said he followed the alleged tagger to the 99 Cent Store on 11th Street and called Tracy police when the alleged tagger went inside the store.
“I told a dispatcher that he was just walking out of the front door, and an officer intercepted him when he was walking into the parking lot,” Kellogg said.
Arresting officer Sgt. Dave Sasser said the man, whom he identified as Gomez, acted surprised that he was being arrested.
Kellogg said when Gomez asked Sasser if the police had undercover officers all over town, Sasser replied, “Nope, just police and fire working together.”
Sasser said Gomez was cited for vandalism and released.
The graffiti allegedly marked by Gomez was the letters DKSK, according to police dispatch records.
On Monday, Nov. 19, Sasser was unsure if the tag Gomez allegedly wrote was found anywhere else in the city.
According to Tracy police Lt. Greg Farmanian, who spoke Friday, Nov. 16, it appears Gomez’s case was an “isolated incident.”
“(Graffiti) comes in waves, and there was a time when we had some problems with it, and we identified the people doing it, and it stopped,” he said. “It does not take a lot of people to cause a lot of damage.”
• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 830-4225 or firstname.lastname@example.org.