A mother of two fears retaliation after she said she took action Saturday after she noticed someone on the sidewalk leaning down by her parked pickup truck.
"He looked at me and he smiled and then bent over and tagged the sidewalk next to my truck," said the woman, who NBC4 is identifying only as Megan. "It made me angry. So I ran out of the house to try to catch him...and I realized he was on a skateboard and he was already too far down the street for me to catch. So I so ran back inside and got my car keys."
The young man she saw tagging was with a companion. Megan recalls catching up to them around the corner and down the block in the parking lot of an elementary school. Another man saw what was going on and became involved.
"Grabbed him by the neck and he couldn't fully get him down," she said. "So I tackled him."
Moments later police arrived and took the young man into custody. His companion had gotten away.
Police praised the woman's courage and community involvement, but at the same time expressed concerns for the risks of citizens confronting suspects.
"We do caution them about getting involved and we are hopeful that they will call us," said Sgt. Kathryn Hamel. A smartphone app called "Myfullerton" enables citizens to upload locations of new graffiti. The city retains contractors to respond to the locations and remove or paint over the graffiti, St. Hamel said, adding that police investigators pursue serial taggers.
Megan said any thoughts of potential danger did not occur to her until after it was over, and her husband chided her. As it was, no on was hurt in the encounter.
."God bless that lady," said Scott Taylor, a neighbor who has bristled at the graffiti in the area and himself has chased off a tagger, before thinking twice.. "Things could really turn south on you, you don't know. They could be armed."
Megan said she thought the young man she chased was 17 or 18. He turned out to be 15, according to Fullerton Police. The Department sent the matter to the Orange County Probation Department, which will determine whether to file a petition with Juvenile Court. Because he is a minor, police would not comment further on his status.