Phoenix tagger sentenced to prison, probation

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- A man accused of defacing at least 300 structures in the Phoenix area with graffiti was sentenced Wednesday to 2-1/2 years in prison.

Maricopa County prosecutors said William Barajas, 20, will be on supervised probation for three years following his release.

The judge also ordered him to perform 300 hours of community service and make financial restitution to more than 75 victims whose property was damaged by his acts of graffiti.

“Anyone who thinks graffiti is a harmless crime without consequences in Maricopa County is making a big mistake,” said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery.

"These acts of vandalism victimize entire neighborhoods by lowering property values and inviting additional crimes," he continued. "That's why we will continue to aggressively prosecute graffiti cases and prevent repeat offenders from continuing to damage our communities.”

Barajas frequently used the moniker "MAWD" and was considered the city's No. 1 graffiti vandal.

Barajas was arrested in May after he was seen defacing a pole near Glenrosa and 27th avenues in Phoenix. At the time, he was also wanted by Glendale police on burglary charges.

During interviews with Glendale and Phoenix police, Barajas confessed to more than 300 acts of graffiti between October 2009 and January 2011.

He pleaded guilty in August to aggravated criminal damage and burglary charges.