LOS ANGELES (AP) — Authorities have arrested a Los Angeles graffiti artist on an alleged probation violation.

Cristian Gheorghiu, also known as Smear, was taken into custody Wednesday a day after sheriff’s deputies searched his East Hollywood home and The Los Angeles Times published an article chronicling the tagger’s rise in the art world, the newspaper reported.

Sheriff’s Lt. Vince Carter would not provide specifics on the arrest, saying the booking was related to new information and vandalism tools. Gheorghiu is on felony probation for a 2007 vandalism conviction. Authorities searched his home Tuesday as part of a probation check.

His attorney, Peter Bibring, said deputies told him they planned to show that Gheorghiu’s possession of graffiti tools was a violation of his probation. Authorities seized markers, stickers, art prints and a copy of the newspaper profile, he said.

“It raises extreme First Amendment issues,” said Bibring, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California. “The government shouldn’t be in a position of saying you can’t make art from certain materials.”

Gheorghiu also is being sued by the city attorney’s office which is seeking an injunction to keep him from profiting from his art work, which now fetches as much as $2,500 a piece. The suit seeks at least $1 million in penalties and a court order barring him and others in his old tagging crew from making money off artwork under their street names.

Gheorghiu has an arrest record dating back to 1999. He was ordered to pay $28,000 in restitution after a 2007 felony conviction.

He remains on probation after paying only $5,000 of his fines and told the newspaper he stopped vandalizing property after that conviction. His only artwork, he said, is created in a studio.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (9)
  1. V says:

    Jesus Christ!!!!!

    When are we going to have officials in office that GO AFTER THE CRIMINALS WHO RIP US OFF< KILL THE INNOCENT


    1. Idiot says:

      Wow you are a total idiot V

      1. Right to opine says:

        No, Idiot!
        He has a point! We waste our resources on BS and ignore the real crimes out there like welfare fraud, gang bangers, etc.

        Nope, not us! Were going after the REAL criminals–the graffiti artists–what a menace to society!! NOT!

  2. For seeing true. says:

    In Ukraine there is a set of the thrown houses and the earths, processing which it is possible to live, eating non-polluting products….
    Absolutely free of charge to receive old the house with an earth piece certainly it will not be possible, but for 1000 dollars, it is possible.
    If will be wishing to move from the USA to Ukraine,
    I will help all than a can…


  3. Mark says:

    Can we please stop referring to these loser vandals as “Artists”! They’re self-important, self-involved narcissists, who destroy other people’s property.

    1. jerm says:

      Mark? you must realize that an artist creates from their own minds.
      or maybe easier for you to understand “self”
      the only matter at hand it seems to you is if the art is displayed “legally”
      yet how creative and unifying is legally polluting the air we all breathe with your car’s exhaust fumes?

      1. Jnd says:

        It’s no use jerm, some people’s minds will always be closed.

    2. Snoski Rock says:

      Narrow minded perspective right here! You described most artist minus the destroying of property. I agree with Jnd…Are we not all destroying the earth?

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