LOS ANGELES - A dozen more arrests were made over the weekend at the site of the graffiti-covered, vacant high-rise building in downtown Los Angeles that continues to draw backlash from the public and city officials.
Twelve arrests were made Sunday, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. The taggers walked right in and were met by police officers, but the suspects denied they were there to tag Oceanwide Plaza, officials said.
Multiple spray paint cans and an illegal firearm were recovered during those arrests.
Last week, four suspects - Sebastian Zoro-Gutierrez, 29; Andrew Rios, 30; Mauro Aguilar, 35; and Jessie Carreon, 44 - were arrested on suspicion of trespassing inside the tagged building. Two others, Victor Ramirez, 35, and Roberto Perez, 25, were arrested on the same charge the week beforehand.
PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Taggers vandalize 27 floors of DTLA high-rise with graffiti
Former LAPD Police Chief Michel Moore told FOX 11 that graffiti artists are coming from all over the world to leave their mark, but the LAPD has regained control of the building.
Viral video showed a team of taggers vandalizing the Oceanwide Plaza on S. Figueroa Street across from Crypto.com Arena and Peacock Place, formerly known as LA Live.
It's not clear at this time how long it took the taggers to do this, but police said they were working with the property's management company to implement additional security measures and have the graffiti removed.
Construction on the billion-dollar development began in 2015, with the project aiming to transform DTLA from "an in-and-out destination to a place to dwell," according to the architecture firm CallisonRTKL's website.
The project was slated to have two 40-story towers. Work was stalled in 2019 after the developer reportedly faced financial woes. The property is now reportedly up for sale.
PREVIOUS COVERAGE: 4 alleged graffiti vandals arrested for tagging LA high-rise
Law enforcement officials told FOX 11 the buildings have long been a problem, attracting copper wife thieves and even suicides.
Now, graffiti artists are just drawing attention to the abandoned high-rises.
City Councilman Kevin de León introduced a motion that has passed, giving the developer two weeks to secure the property and clear the sidewalks they've been blocking for years. If they don't, the city will take charge and send the company a bill.
Oceanwide Holdings reportedly is bankrupt and has more than $500 million in liens, according to Councilman de León. It's unknown if the city will ever get that money.
He added that he believed the LAPD should not become the security firm for private developments.
The investigation is ongoing.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Central Area Burglary Detective Lee at (213) 833-3750. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (1-877-527-3247). Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call the LA Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477) or go directly to www.lacrimestoppers.org.