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Prolific 71-Year-Old Graffiti Tagger Arrested in Dunedin

You'd think graffiti would be a young man's game. Especially the kind of down-and-dirty, illegal type that requires taggers to covertly leave their mark while being prepared to run like hell if anyone catches them. Well, there's always an exception to the rule.

Meet 71-year-old Charles Ignatius Wesley. He was finally arrested after leaving his tag on hundreds of telephone poles in Pinellas County over the past five years.


The initials SLA had been popping up on phone poles in the area since at least 2006. According to the St. Petersburg Times, sheriff's deputies originally thought the tag could be connected to the Symbionese Liberation Army, the left-wing radical group that made waves in the '70s by kidnapping heiress Patty Hearst.

In fact, the initials did have political meaning, but Wesley is no veteran of any pseudo-military units from the '70s. In fact, SLA stands for "Sane, Liberated Americas," a political party that likely counts Wesley as its only member. Wesley believes the party will take over the country once the economy completely falls. The 71-year-old claims the party was formed after he was appointed the 24th Elder by the Lord himself one night while he slept. Yes, his party has the word sane in it.

So, to spread his message, he soon began spray-painting poles. Deputies finally caught up to him last week after witnesses saw him tagging a pole in a vacant lot Sunday. Wesley admitted responsibility for the hundreds of tagged poles and claimed he had marked six others that day.

He was arrested on charges of criminal mischief and is being held on $5,000 bail.

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