Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Venice tagged in graffiti once again

- Authorities on Thursday were investigating the tagging of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Venice, which had been vandalized nearly a year ago in what investigators believe was an unrelated crime.

The latest incident was reported to authorities on Friday night, said Ramon Montenegro of the sheriff's Transit Policing Division.

The memorial wall is on Metro property -- on the outside wall of a vacant bus garage at Pacific Avenue and Sunset Court -- and is under the jurisdiction of sheriff's investigators. "It appears to be a random tagging, and it does not appear to be related to last year's vandalism,'' Montenegro said.

No suspects have been arrested in the latest crime.

The earlier crime occurred shortly before Memorial Day of last year. Angel Castro, 24, was arrested and booked on suspicion of felony vandalism in the case. In January, Castro was sentenced to four years in state prison after
pleading no contest to charges of vandalism and robbery in connection with the incident.

The memorial consists of a mural that was painted in the early 1990s by artist Patrick Stewart, and it bears the names of soldiers counted as prisoners of war or missing in action in Vietnam, according to news media outlets.

Last year's vandalism moved dozens of volunteers to come together clean off the graffiti. However, in the cleaning process, dozens of the 2,237 names were wiped away. The Social and Public Art Resource Center tracked the full list of names that were on the wall from the estate of the original artist -- Stewart.

SPARC will begin restoring the memorial next week. Then crews will add an invisible coating to protect it from any future graffiti. The coating will allow the graffiti to be washed off.

Anyone with information about the latest case was urged to call Transit Policing Division detectives at (888) 950-SAFE.

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