Toronto building tags

Toronto graffiti taggers caught on video

A Dundas West business owner is using security cameras to save himself a whole bunch of money on paint – and hopefully bring justice to whoever keeps making him buy it in the first place.

Renowned Canadian photographer George Pimentel has shot everyone from Brad Pitt and Madonna to The Royal Family and Pope John Paul II. In a way, the trio of vandals he caught on camera Sunday night should be flattered that he turned a lens on them.

Of course, the security video wasn't made for art's sake - it was made to put a face to the hand that's been spray painting bubble letters on the exterior wall of Pimentel's studio over a period of years.

"Never stops !!!! anybody know them?" wrote the photographer in a Facebook post on Tuesday. "Let me know."

A video attached to the post shows three people – one with a can of spray paint and two who serve as lookouts - writing a large, illegible word on an otherwise pristine brick wall.

Pimentel told Global News this week that he's spent about $500 on paint to cover up tags like this over the past few years.

His problem isn't with graffiti artists who paint beautiful, city-sanctioned murals. In fact, as he points out, their work is being vandalized as well. What's bothering Pimentel are taggers, like those who recently vandalized Toronto's historic Unknown Student sculpture.

"They have no right tagging private property," said Pimentel to Global News. "I've gone to the police... the police haven’t done anything. I understand they’re busy with real crime but I think the laws have to be enforced."

Yesterday, the photographer updated his Facebook post to let everyone following know he had identified the person tagging his wall in the video.

"FYI everyone, good news, I found the guy," he wrote. "The question is what should I do? Should I find him and spray paint his face. Or should I just take him to the police."

Whether or not the spray painter is punished, and how, remains to be seen.

Lead photo by

George Pimentel


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