Weeks of surveillance and investigation paid off early Monday morning when Metro police caught four young graffiti artists allegedly tagging the Interstate 40 bridge at McCrory Lane.
Dillon Lee Vaughn, 18, of River Ridge Drive, was allegedly spraying the bridge columns when Officer Chad Barth spotted him at 3:30 a.m., police said. Three other young men were waiting in a Ford Explorer parked under the overpass.
A search of the vehicle revealed 44 cans of spray paint, a loaded .38-caliber pistol with 20 extra bullets, a plastic baggie that contained 6.3 grams of marijuana, and a gorilla mask.
The driver of the Explorer, Donald Wayne Vaughn, 20, of Travis Road in Paris, Tennessee, was arrested on charges of vandalism, unlawful weapon possession, marijuana possession, and possession of drug paraphernalia. His bond was set at $10,500.
Dillon Lee Vaughn, of Nashville, was issued misdemeanor citations charging vandalism and unlawful weapon possession, as were the vehicle’s two other occupants, Ellis Worstall, 19, of Elkins Avenue, and Nicholas Cate, 18, of Sugartree Road.
Police are still working to develop criminal cases against persons responsible for “tagging” buildings, bridge columns, etc., with spray paint.
Anyone with information on vandals responsible for tagging is urged to contact Crime Stoppers at 74-CRIME. Persons can remain anonymous and may qualify for a cash reward.