Cops: Graffiti guy pleads guilty to defacing subway trains
BY PETE DONOHUE – NY DAILY NEWS – Friday, September 28th 2007, 4:00 AM
One of the “Godfathers of Graffiti,” a pal of fashion designer Marc Ecko, has pleaded guilty to felony charges of defacing subway trains, authorities said yesterday. Alain Mariduena, 36, won’t be imprisoned under his plea agreements. But Mariduena – who tags his work KET – will have to pay more than $12,000 in fines and restitution, and could quickly wind up behind bars if he’s nabbed again.
“He’s a three-time loser now,” one high-ranking law enforcement official said. “If he takes another pinch, he’s going to jail.”
Mariduena, of Manhattan, started tagging trains as a teenager in the 1980s and achieved international notoriety. He painted at festivals in Europe and lectured college students in the 1990s. He started pop culture and fashion magazines, worked as an artistic consultant and toiled on an Atari graffiti video game designed by Ecko Unlimited.
“He’s considered one of the Godfathers of Graffiti,” said Sgt. Kevin Cooper of the NYPD’s Transit Bureau. “All the younger writers in the area all look up to him.”
He allegedly tagged nine subway trains parked overnight on unused tracks in tunnels and vandalized a subway station and a building between 2004 and late last year. With information gathered from surveillance and interviews with graffiti writers nabbed by police, cops obtained a search warrant for Mariduena’s Inwood apartment in October, Cooper said. They discovered photographs of the defaced subway trains, some with Mariduena standing before his work, on his computer, police said.
Mariduena pleaded guilty to felony criminal mischief in recent weeks to settle ases brought by prosecutors in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.