SHIBUYA, Tokyo (TR) – Four U.S. male tourists were arrested here on Wednesday for spraying graffiti on store shutters, claiming they were told street art was allowed in the city.
Tokyo police arrested Brian John Gordon, 42, and three other male U.S. suspects on charges of destruction of property and damaging buildings by allegedly spraying graffiti on store shutters and ducts along Center Gai, a popular shopping street in Udagawacho, Shibuya Ward, on September 9 at around 11 p.m., TV Asahi reports (September 21).
Two of the suspects have admitted to the charges, one is denying them, and another is abstaining from making further statements, police said.
Gordon claimed in statements to police he heard from a friend that “Shibuya was a town that allowed graffiti, there’s some places in the states that allow graffiti,” the Mainichi Shimbun reported.
“We wanted to leave a mark showing we were here,” Gordon was quoted as telling police.
Gordon and the other three suspects, who told police they were “fellow colleagues who draw murals in the states,” visited Japan for the first time on September 9 and checked into a hotel before buying various items at an art supply store in Shibuya.
Security cameras captured the suspects defacing various properties in Center Gai as well as two other locations.
When the suspects were arrested, officers found them in possession of various supplies including 24 spray cans, 67 spray paint nozzles and 12 markers.
Police in Shibuya have been stepping up patrols since earlier this month after reports of more graffiti around Center Gai.