It’s Not a Great Idea to Allegedly Vandalize a Police Station Minutes After Being Released From Said Police Station

Crime
A blog about murder, theft, and other wickedness.
Aug. 16 2013 10:23 AM

It’s Not a Great Idea to Allegedly Vandalize a Police Station Minutes After Being Released From Said Police Station

Illustration by Robert Neubecker.

Illustration by Robert Neubecker

Alleged crime: Vandalism

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Fatal mistake: Extremely poor impulse control

The circumstances: There’s a reason why graffitists tend to tag railroad boxcars, abandoned houses, or dilapidated buildings like the one I live in. Those sorts of structures are already sort of grimy, and nobody really cares if they’re vandalized further. The same cannot be said for a police station.

As NBCSanDiego.com reports, a California man named Jason Rodriguez was arrested Wednesday on drug charges. The Chula Vista, Calif., police released Rodriguez early Thursday morning, after he provided a written promise that he would appear in court. Even though the police were done with Rodriguez for the moment, Rodriguez allegedly wasn’t done with the police. Here’s NBCSanDiego.com:

Minutes after his release, police say Rodriguez walked to the front entrance of the police department and allegedly used an unknown object to etch the letters “AROX” into a glass lobby door.
The department was closed for the night, so officers didn’t see Rodriguez committing the vandalism. Hours later, a member of the custodial staff discovered the damage and notified officials.
The Chula Vista Watch Commander reviewed security video and determined the vandalism—estimated at $2,000 in damages—was caused by Rodriguez.

The perfect crime, Rodriguez may have been thinking. But, see, the thing with police stations is that they’re filled with cameras, and, just as importantly, police officers. When cops view the footage captured by those cameras, they are likely to recognize the genius defacing their door as the guy whom they just booked and released hours earlier. Rodriguez was arrested at his house later that morning. This time around, they’re holding him on $10,000 bail.

How he could have been a lot smarter: If you absolutely must vandalize a police station—which, honestly, I do not recommend—be sure to wear a mask, or a fake beard, or something else to conceal your identity. I realize Rodriguez was just released from custody, and may not have had a mask or beard on him at the time, but, in that case, cover your head with your shirt or something.

How he could have been a little smarter: He could have written “AROD” instead of “AROX,” thus giving the Chula Vista police reason to suspect the worst of disgraced baseball slugger Alex Rodriguez, which everyone is inclined to do anyway.

How he could have been a little dumber: He could have attempted to vandalize the station while it was actually open, which would have caused him to get arrested even sooner.

How he could have been a lot dumber: Etched his address, phone number, and emergency contact information.  

Ultimate Dumbness Ranking (UDR): Like everyone else, I sometimes have the urge to stick it to the man. But there are good and bad methods of sticking. Suffice it to say that defacing a police station from which you were just released is not one of the good methods. 7.5 out of 10 for Jason Rodriguez.

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Justin Peters is a writer for Slate. He is working on a book about Aaron Swartz, copyright, and the rise of “free culture.” Email him at justintrevett@fastmail.fm.