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At a preliminary hearing at the Vista courthouse on August 29, Christian Padilla faced charges for an incident that occurred August 14.

On that night, a man taking out the garbage after 10 p.m. saw somebody spray-painting neighborhood street signs. The man reported the vandalism on West Los Angeles Drive in Vista using his cell phone and followed the vandal and informed law enforcement of his location every two blocks, according to sheriff’s deputy Carlos Canela.

Deputies arrived and stopped 22-year-old Padilla, who was found to have a can of black spray paint in the front pocket of his shirt.

Padilla told deputies that he “always admired spray-paint art” but denied that he created any graffiti that night; he said he had “just got done spray-painting a skateboard,” according to Canela.

The reporting citizen made a curbside ID of Padilla, according to the deputy.

At the close of the hearing, the judge ordered Padilla to face misdemeanor graffiti or vandalism charges and set his next court date for Friday, September 2.

Sheriff’s records show Padilla is flagged for immigration proceedings.

Stock photo

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Eva Knott Sept. 7, 2011 @ 6:40 a.m.

UPDATE. Christian Padilla pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor, that he "damaged the property of another with malice," and he was officially released into probation the same day, September 2. Except that the Sheriff held Padilla to pass him along for deportation hearings. Judge Mills suspended the usual fines and court fees and restitution, finding Padilla "indigent."

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