Today in "apparently not an April Fools joke": Tyler Shane Wolfe, a student at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, has been arrested for spraying graffiti all over campus.
The twist? Wolfe is also a reporter for The Parthenon, Marshall U's student newspaper, and he'd written a story about the school's efforts to battle graffiti on campus. Eventually, per The Charleston Gazette, "police identified Wolfe as one of the suspects in the case."
According a faculty adviser for The Parthenon, Wolfe's graffiti spree is thought to have taken place six months ago. Police believe Wolfe spray-painted "Narc" or "Nark" on a bunch of trash cans and a freshman dorm. Later, Wolfe joined the school paper and started covering the ongoing efforts of police to track down graffiti artists.
As Wolfe notes in his March 2 Parthenon article, the school "only spends about $250 per year on the removal of graffiti," but the process is "very labor-intensive."
Wolfe's piece includes quotes from a Huntington graffiti artist called EPIK VSK, who says the town is "a bit of a breeding ground for graffiti artists ... It's kinda small, there isn't a lot of heat on writers and it's relatively safe to go out and write. It's a great environment for an artist to go out and put their name up and become known."
Wolfe gave the graffitist a Twitter shout-out the day his article ran. "Special thanks to EPIK VSK for the help on that last story," Wolfe Tweeted.
Two weeks later, Marshall police arrested a 19-year-old, Samuel Harrison Pauley, who admitted that he was EPIK.
In addition to his graffiti feature, Wolfe has also written a handful of Police Blotter items for The Parthenon, including two where he mentions incidents of graffiti--"a swastika emblem and a two-word phrase" found in a bathroom stall, and "several black spray-painted pornographic stencils" found around Smith Hall, which houses the school's journalism program.
Now, Wolfe faces three counts of destruction of property, one count of obstructing a police officer, and one count of conspiracy to damage property. All five counts are misdemeanor charges.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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