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Burbank Leader

Graffiti removal company fires employee accused of billing Burbank to remove his own tags

4:03 PM PST, November 9, 2012

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The graffiti removal company under contract with Burbank has fired the employee who allegedly applied more than 100 graffiti tags citywide and then submitted bills for removing them.

The president of Graffiti Protective Coatings, Inc., Carla Lenhoff, also said in a statement released Friday that Burbank and its residents “will not have to pay any costs associated with his actions.”

The employee – Enrique Medrano, 53 – was arrested Thursday on suspicion of burglary, vandalism and forgery after he allegedly billed the city for more than $2,200 in fraudulent work, police said.

Officials suspect the criminal activity began in September, when the company noticed discrepancies in Medrano’s work orders. Shortly after, Burbank police tracked the “unusual graffiti activity” using proprietary smart phone software developed by the company three years ago to streamline work flow.

Medrano was arrested in Burbank while on the job, according to Burbank Police Sgt. Darin Ryburn.
Police commended the company for working with investigators to solve the case.

“We appreciate their cooperation,” Burbank Police Capt. Denis Cremins said in a statement.

The city hired the company six years ago to remove graffiti in city parks, alleys and other public areas at about $100,000 a year, city officials said.

Medrano was released after posting $20,000 bail and is due in court next month, police said.

-- Alene Tchekmedyian, Times Community News

Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.