Off-duty Calgary cop collars taggers while walking dog

Some say walking the dog is good for its owner’s health.

But police Insp. Paul Stacey‘s recent early morning stroll with his pooches proved it can also help take a bite out of crime.

Walking near a church in the 2900 block of Cedarbrae Dr. S.W. about 1:30 a.m. on Jan. 12, the off-duty officer spotted some people acting a tad suspicious.

“I hunkered down in an area where I could watch them,” he said.

What he saw painted a picture of what he suspected — the pair were up to no good.

“They started digging in their backpack and pulled out cans of spray paint and they proceed to tag a large portion of the church wall, all under the cover of darkness,“ he said.

“While this was going on, I was on the line to 911 describing the activities I was witnessing.

“I stayed on the line as they finished up their handiwork, and followed them until three patrol units arrived on the scene.”

The culprits were strolling down the middle of the road when Stacey’s colleagues swooped in and made the arrests.

One was a 21-year-old man from Okotoks while the other was a 23-year-old woman.

Caught red-handed, the male suspect literally had red paint all over his hands while officers found 11 cans of spray-paint in the backpack.

Neither has a criminal record — yet.

South Calgary Community Church pastor George Ridley said the building has been the target of graffiti vandals a number of times.

“It’s just disappointing,” he said, adding he’s grateful for Stacey’s keen eye on the most recent incident.

“I’m quite glad somebody was watching and was able to take action.

“To have someone walking by and notice it and call in help? That’s great. We’re hugely appreciative.”

Ridley said volunteers will first try to scrub off the paint and come warmer weather, the church will have to consider repainting the wall.

The two suspects were each charged with mischief/property damage and are set to make a court appearance on Feb. 13.

Estimated damage to the church is about $800.

Police are investigating if the incident is linked to any others.

January 22, 2012
By: Nadia Moharib
Calgary Sun

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