The man whom police consider Spain’s most active graffiti artist was arrested on Monday and charged with causing damages worth over 31,000 euros.
According to sources at Madrid police headquarters, David S.E., a 31-year-old Spaniard, is considered a leader by other graffiti artists, boasting the most meters of painted subway cars in the whole of Spain. Metro de Madrid security guards assisted the police in the arrest.
This is not the first time that law enforcement officers have had to deal with David S. E. His first acts of vandalism began in 1995, when he became one of the first people to use the so-called “palancazo” technique, which involves breaking into the train driver’s cabin and activating the emergency brakes. Once the subway train has come to a halt, the graffiti artists get off and spray-paint the cars for up to 15 minutes — the maximum time it takes for the service to get back to normal.
David S. E. was arrested once before, in 2003, for similar activities.
Known by his nickname “LOSE,” David S.E. used social networks to post videos of his activities and to call preliminary meetings to organize upcoming events. Up to 20 people of different ages might show up for one of these meetings, some of them from outside Spain.
Their modus operandi was always the same. They dressed in camouflage gear and concealed their faces with hoods and scarves. Their backpacks contained spray paint, keys and tools to force the cabin doors open. The spots along the route were selected based on proximity to an emergency exit or a ventilation shaft, in order to make a quick getaway. These escape routes were always inspected ahead of time to ensure that they would be operational on the day.
At first the group used to stop the trains in the middle of the tunnels to spray paint with greater impunity, but later they began doing it inside the stations to have greater access to escape routes. Their preferred schedule was between midnight and 1am. On more than one occasion they resorted to violence against subway security guards, according to police sources.
David S.E. is also known for having founded such famous graffiti groups as “TNT” and “BGS.” He is also thought to have spray-painted subway cars in New York, London, Copenhagen and Athens. Police sources said he was born on August 26, 1982 and is a resident of the Madrid district of Campamento. An electrician by trade, he is currently out of a job.