Crime

It was art on social media for him. To police it was a crime.

Alexander Phelps, 22, of Edwardsville is accused of a string of graffiti damages to seven locations in Edwardsville, painting symbols and the digits “1UP” throughout the city.
Alexander Phelps, 22, of Edwardsville is accused of a string of graffiti damages to seven locations in Edwardsville, painting symbols and the digits “1UP” throughout the city.

An Edwardsville man faces eight felony charges relating to graffiti after cell pictures of the vandalism appeared on social media.

Alexander Phelps, 22, of Edwardsville has been charged with multiple counts of criminal damage to property. He is accused of a string of graffiti damages to seven locations in Edwardsville, painting symbols and the digits “1UP” throughout the city.

Phelps faces two counts of criminal damage to government-supported property, a Class 3 felony, accused of painting graffiti on the Illinois Department of Transportation rest stop on I-55 at mile marker 24; and on the bridge in the 1100 block of St. Louis Street in Edwardsville.

He faces five counts of criminal damage to property costing more than $300, a Class 4 felony, accused of painting graffiti at 222 East Park Ave., 112 E. Vandalia, 101 E. Vandalia, 113 Plaza Court and 1201 N. Main, all in the downtown Edwardsville area.

He has also been charged with one count of burglary, a Class 2 felony, accused of a theft at 1201 N. Main, the former site of Rusty’s Restaurant.

“Our business owners and developers work very hard to maintain attractive properties within the city of Edwardsville, and they were rightfully concerned when their property was damaged with graffiti,” said Edwardsville Police Chief Jay Keeven. “We are hopeful that restitution for the damage which was caused will be required for anyone convicted of these crimes.”

The Edwardsville Police Department has been investigating the graffiti since June 17. Police said they found a social media account that documented various pieces of the graffiti, and obtained a search warrant for Phelps’ phone, which they said gave them sufficient evidence to charge him.

“I hope these charges and the defendant’s arrest serve as a warning to anyone else considering defacing public and private property: the defacement and destruction of property is a serious offense, vandalism of any type will not be tolerated in Madison County,” said Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons.

If convicted, Phelps faces 3-7 years in prison for the burglary charge; 2-5 years in prison for the state-supported property damage charges and 1-3 years in prison for the damage to private property. Phelps is currently in custody at the Madison County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bail.

Elizabeth Donald: 618-239-2507, @BNDedonald

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