CHAVES COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) — A tagger left his mark across a New Mexico town. However, when police tracked him down, they didn’t charge him. They had another idea.
On Tuesday, the Hagerman Police Department posted photos on social media of Richard Young’s illegal graffiti scrawled across town on buildings and signs. Police warned him on social media to clean up his work or face consequences.
They traced it to him because the work had his art page titled ‘Shok’ on it. Hagerman chief of police said while some of the vandalism around town and county were years old, others were more recent.
“His art was pretty good, and he was doing some nice stuff in places. I thought I would give him an opportunity to correct it. I made that post reaching out to him. Within two minutes, he contacted us and apologized and wanted to go ahead and make it right,” said Hagerman Police Chief Rachelle Bateman.
Young agreed to clean up his graffiti. Meanwhile, a town councilor reached out to Young asking him to create a mural somewhere in town.
“I think that it could be a positive outcome for him, and it could be a positive outcome for Hagerman also,” said Chief Bateman.
According to Young, the graffiti was years old when he used to do graffiti illegally. He said he’s turned his life around and is trying to find a better use of his talents.
Now, he added Roswell businesses are hiring him to create art on their buildings. He encourages other taggers to do the same.
“Just get out of the gutter with that stuff. It’s nonsense. There’s no reason to go to jail or get in trouble over a 12-ounce can full of paint. Go make some money off it. Go show your artwork somewhere. Go shine, in other words,” said Young.
Young wishes more cities and towns would create areas for artists to express themselves.
Chief Bateman mentioned that could be a possibility in their area, “There’s a lot of abandoned buildings here, and we’re looking to try to make more stuff for the kids to do.”
The town councilor and Young will meet Wednesday to go over the details of the mural.