Graffiti Addiction

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"For a while there I was doing it so often, everyday. It felt like a job. It was like hey, I gotta get up and go to work."
He started out doodling on his books at school, but it evolved into an obsession, fueled by the attention he received for what he calls his art work. This 18 year old - who asked us not to reveal his name or face - says his graffiti earned him respect and recognition on the streets. He's known for the world "LOVER" that he's now accused of spray painting in dozens of locations in Washoe County.
"Even though its not good and its illegal, it feels good to have someone tell you that what you did looks good."
He says he and his crew of taggers were also driven by the the thrill of breaking the law. And when they would get away with painting on a highly visible or hard to reach spot, the more respect they would earn.
"I just got this big head, this ego. I thought I'd never get caught, I was invincible."
But he did get caught -- red handed -- by a Sparks Police Officer. Now that he's facing 85 counts, he says he's sorry for what he's done and for wasting tax payer dollars.
(reporter:) "Is it because you're facing jail time? Or do you really have regrets?"
"Even when I was doing it, when I thought about what I was doing to private businesses, it was rude. And I hear from people who say - you make our community look bad. I'd know it, but wouldn't want to think about it."
Now that he not busy tagging, he says he's had a lot of time to think. But admits, he still struggles with the urge to pick up a can of paint.
(reporter:) "Is there a part of you that still has trouble letting go?"
"I'm not gonna lie, its hard. Its like sitting here and thinking about it...painting, going out with my friends. Makes me want to do it again. I know I cant because I'm looking at so much trouble, and I can get into more trouble. But its hard. Its like my total life revolved around it."