A graffiti artist whose work has cost the city thousands was allegedly arrested early Tuesday morning after one of his Instagram followers saw a live post go up, and notified authorities of his location.
The anonymous artist, who used the social handle @iwrite4, has been painting his signature tag — a Bart Simpson head with the number 4 on his forehead — around town for months. In March 2017, the SFMTA told Hoodline that around 20 Muni bus shelters had been hit. Based on 311 data, the majority of the sites were in the Richmond District.
But the artist didn’t stop there — his work has appeared all over town, on mailboxes, white vans, walls, and trash cans. But it was an incident in Chinatown that spurred his downfall.
“Once he painted a wall outside of the bar Red’s Place in Chinatown,” a tipster, who wishes to remain anonymous, tells SF Weekly. “The city then commissioned someone to paint a Chinese dragon over it. Then this jerk comes back and repaints his lousy Bart Simpsons head over the dragon. I thought that was pretty disrespectful to the people living in Chinatown, so I decided to start monitoring his posts. Fortunately, it paid off!”
According to our tipster, someone began streaming a live video of a tag in process on the @iwrite4 account around 2:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning. “I recognized the buildings he was tagging near (The Great Star Theater) so I called the police,” he says. “I was also able to see his clothing in the live stream when he turned the camera down, so I was able to give police a description. About an hour later they called me back to confirm they’d arrested him and get clarification on how I found him.”
SFPD office confirmed with SF Weekly that an arrest was made Tuesday of 27-year-old Tyler Ross. He was apparently found with several cans of spray paint, paint markers, and a Bart Simpson keychain. He’s been booked on felony and misdemeanor charges of vandalism.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the Instagram account had disappeared.