A 17-year-old tagger, one of the city's most prolific, is facing 151 mischief charges for defacing property throughout downtown and west Edmonton.

Since 2010 Edmonton police have been investigating graffiti complaints with the tag "Brute," found on private and public property at over 250 locations.

On Jan. 21, police stopped a teen riding his bicycle at 5 a.m. on 107th Avenue at 106th Street.

Police said the boy's behaviour was suspicious and he had paint on his hands, face and clothing and spray cans in his possession.

Police say further investigation and a subsequent search warrant and evidence led to the charges.

More charges are pending, said police.

Tagging incidents down slightly in the city

The arrest comes just as Edmonton's latest graffiti audit shows a small decrease in graffiti incidents last year.

The 2012 Graffiti Vandalism Audit recorded 1,116 incidents of graffiti as compared to nearly 1,133 incidents in the same 20 Edmonton neighbourhoods audited in 2011. 

This amounts to a 1.5 per cent decrease in the total amount of graffiti vandalism found from 2011 to 2012 and down 43.6 per cent from the first audit in 2010.

Five of the audited neighbourhoods — downtown, Strathcona, Garneau, Central McDougall and Queen Mary Park — accounted for 45 per cent of all graffiti found.

Last year's audit identified 275 taggers who were responsible for 69 per cent of all graffiti vandalism surveyed. Ten of those taggers were responsible for 40 per cent of the graffiti vandalism.

The city said the most prolific tagger was responsible for nine per cent of all tags found.