EL CAJON, Calif. -
Residents in an El Cajon neighborhood woke up Thursday morning to find graffiti all over fences, signs and a car.
The vandal or vandals hit sometime Wednesday night, and by morning, there was graffiti around a block-long area just off Jamacha Road between Dorothy Street and Lexington Avenue.
"It really is disheartening," said El Cajon Citizens Patrol member Ticin Parker.
Parker and his group are entirely made up of volunteers. Seeing the vandalism would be disheartening to anyone, but for Parker and members of his group, it hits especially hard.
"This is something that we put not just a lot of money, but a lot of time into and the patrol people are very, very proud of what they do," Parker said.
Patrol members like Parker not only volunteer, but they spend their own money on things like custom shirts, gas for their cars as they patrol and, on Parker's Crown Victoria vehicle, magnetic signs.
Now, Parker is faced with spending more money, to get graffiti off his car's hood.
"I only have liability insurance, so that means it's coming out of my pocket," said Parker.
With the exception of Parker's car, the vandalism seemed indiscriminate and included garage doors and a stop sign.
All of the graffiti shared one thing in common -- the letters VNC. Fortunately, El Cajon participates in a graffiti-tracking program in which computer software links up several cities in San Diego County to keep track of tagging. Police share that information with the goal of zeroing in on the taggers.
"I don't think it's right … they should stop," said neighbor Rhonda Cobb, who's lived in the neighborhood for four years.
Cobb was disgusted at the sight she woke up to Thursday morning, and she told 10News, "It's not your property to destroy. If you want to destroy property, go destroy your own property, but not someone else's home."
But if the taggers thought their vandalism would deter Parker and his fellow volunteers, they were wrong.
"Now that you see what's going to happen, are you going to stop doing it? The answer's no. I'm going to do it now, I'm going to do it more because of this," Parker said.
For first offenders, a conviction for tagging can carry fines and community service.
For repeat offenders, fines of up to $2,000 and up to six months in jail are possible.