The Petaluma Police Department's new, two-man property crimes unit arrested a man last week for allegedly causing almost $20,000 worth of damage to Northwestern Pacific Railroad cars and a Pacific Gas & Electric Company electric pole.
Officers arrested Bryan Robert Cacy, 32, of Petaluma last Tuesday on suspicion of two felony counts of vandalism and two misdemeanor counts of trespassing on railroad property following a week-long investigation.
According to California Highway Patrol Officer Blair Hardcastle — who is temporarily working out of Petaluma with the Police Department's property crimes unit — a recent rash of graffiti tagging on train cars caused about $19,000 worth of damage to the Northwestern Pacific Railroad cars, and almost $700 worth of damage to a PG&E power pole.
"Since railroad service has resumed and cars have been going through Petaluma, we've noticed these cars have become an increasingly popular target for graffiti artists," said Hardcastle.
At the same time that the property crimes unit was investigating the string of train car taggings, another Petaluma officer was investigating a report of a person spray-painting a moniker at a local Shell Gas Station. The officer collected pictures of the vandal's moniker and emailed them to the entire department, including Hardcastle. As soon as Hardcastle saw the photos, he knew it was the same vandal.
"It was the same moniker, the same color paint and the same handwriting as what we found on the train cars and power pole," he said.
After additional investigation, Hardcastle and Petaluma Detective Paul Gilman — the other half of the property crimes unit — tracked down Cacy at his home.
Hardcastle said the officers found paint cans outside Cacy's home that matched the type of paint used in the vandalism, and through fingerprint matching were able to identify Cacy as their suspect.
Petaluma Police Lt. Tim Lyons said that Cacy was booked into county jail after he was arrested.
(Contact Janelle Wetzstein at firstname.lastname@example.org.)