Birch Bay graffiti suspect caught by sheriff’s deputies

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A person suspected of leaving a trail of “KJ” graffiti marks around Birch Bay was booked into Whatcom County Jail for malicious mischief in the second degree and felony harassment on
February 27.

Joshua Ryan Taylor, 38, allegedly spray-painted “KJ” on public and private property in areas like Cottonwood Drive and Loomis Trail, increasing graffiti in the area over the past month. Since February 10, the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office had received five reports about graffiti in the area but didn’t think it was gang related, Birch Bay deputy Derek Jones said.

As described in the affidavit ofprobable cause (APC), deputies responded February 21 to a Birch Bay-Lynden Road apartment for reports of domestic violence harassment. At the apartment, deputies found spray paint cans and painted wooden letters K and J. Deputies determined “K” stood for the first name of Taylor’s girlfriend and “J” stood for Taylor’s first name, Joshua.

Deputies located and arrested Taylor on February 27. During the arrest, he admitted to spray-painting a slur on the seawall at the 8200 block of Birch Bay Drive. Taylor allegedly threatened the sheriff’s deputy who transported him to jail, saying he would “beat his ass” and told the deputy to pull over and remove his handcuffs. The sheriff’s deputy determined Taylor’s statements constituted threat of retaliation and gave probable cause for felony harassment.

Three separate graffiti incidents were reported at 8200 Birch Bay Drive, adjacent to Cedar Avenue; a stop sign and bus stop at Birch Point Drive and Selder Road; and the Birch Bay Water and Sewer District treatment plant building, Jones said.

“It’s definitely been an uptick with this particular tag,” Jones said before Taylor’s arrest. “Normally, we haven’t had a lot of
graffiti.”

Jones said he started documenting every location and keeps an eye on new graffiti, which he said was often discovered Friday evenings or during the weekends. The sheriff’s office had suspected one person was behind the vandalism because the “KJ” graffiti marks had similar handwriting and similar paint colors were used, Jones said.

Birch Bay Waterslides and Sea Links Golf Course have also had graffiti on their property but didn’t officially report it, Jones said.

Whatcom County Public Works is cleaning up public surfaces, but private property owners are responsible for their own cleanup, Jones said.

Whatcom County Public Works has spent $1,111 on labor and materials for cleaning up Birch Bay graffiti in the past month, spokesperson Marie Duckworth said in an email.

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