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BOISE - A Boise man is facing felony charges after police say his graffiti caused about $217,000 worth of damage.

Matthew Erickson Armstrong, 20, is accused of targeting homes, garages, businesses schools, fences and more. Police believe he is responsible for 342 reports of graffiti throughout Boise. The tags are not gang-related.

Armstrong was arrested May 6 on a felony probation violation. He was charged Tuesday with five additional counts of felony malicious injury to property.

Capt. Steve Myers of the Boise Police Community Outreach Division said his division puts a high priority on ridding the town of graffiti.

Graffiti is one of the most commonly complained about crimes in the city people value their neighborhoods see graffiti as devaluing their property, he said. Business owners say they fear losing customers from the negative image graffiti generates, and residents say graffiti often sends the message that a neighborhood is in decline or over-ridden with crime. That s why we place a priority on getting these crimes reported, documents, getting the damage removed and tracking down who s responsible.

Taggers are often motivated by exposure and public recognition of their graffiti, police say. They believe quick removal and the arrests of several prolific taggers has helped keep the number of graffiti incidents decreasing for the last three years. Anyone who spots tags is urged to contact non-emergency dispatch at 377-6790.

If convicted, Armstrong will face between one and five years in prison on each count of malicious injury to property. He is scheduled for arraignment. He could also be ordered to repay the $217,000 in damages.

Armstrong is being held in the Ada County Jail in lieu of a $50,000 bond. He's scheduled to appear in court June 4.

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