The suspected prolific San Francisco graffiti vandal, who is believed to be behind the “Goer” tags on storefronts and walls across Downtown neighborhoods, landed in jail again on Thursday—but was released by a judge Friday.
Brian Wabl, 41, of San Francisco, was arrested Thursday on suspicion of violating the terms of his release.
District Attorney Brooke Jenkins said in an emailed statement a judge released Wabl despite her objections, and said her office had determined Wabl cut off his electronic monitoring device following his previous arrest on Oct. 16 for suspected vandalism, after which he was released on home detention with electronic monitoring.
A warrant for Wabl's arrest was issued, and he was taken into custody Thursday, Jenkins said.
Wabl’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Leo Fissel, said his client's latest arrest was for allegedly violating the conditions of his release on Oct. 31 following his previous arrest, which included electronic monitoring, and not for new graffiti charges.
Wabl appeared in court Friday and was released on his own recognizance with a search condition, "stay away" order and "no graffiti tools" order, Jenkins said. The DA had requested the judge set bail and place Wabl on home detention and electronic monitoring, which were both denied, Jenkins said.
“C’mon,” Mesnick said, who goes by @bettersoma on X. “Back at it, huh?”
Mesnick said there should be harsher consequences for Wabl after another arrest for graffiti-related offenses.
When Mesnick learned Wabl had been released, he was again baffled.
"He's a nonviolent criminal, but he clearly can't keep himself from tagging walls," Mesnick said. "Somewhere, the justice system's not working."
San Francisco jail records show Wabl was booked on suspicion of possessing graffiti tools and felony vandalism.
Wabl was previously charged with felony vandalism after being arrested on Oct. 16 after a witness told officers to stop him on Howard Street in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood.
Wabl tagged the word "Goer" on a Howard Street business between Seventh and Eighth streets on Oct. 15, prosecutors allege. Wabl pleaded not guilty to that charge on Oct. 18.
Wabl's felony charge was reduced to a misdemeanor on Oct. 31, and Wabl was released, according to Jenkins.
It's unclear what "Goer" means, if anything, but in British slang, the derogatory term is used to describe a woman who is sexually active with many different partners.
An Instagram account linked to someone named Brian Wabl includes references to a dog called Goer.
“The assumption is that it's multiple people doing the tag, but hopefully, they got the guy who's the kingpin,” Mesnick previously told The Standard. “It is the most frequent sign, prominent, prolific. For years, we've been cleaning up after this guy, years upon years.”
The tagger left a different mark in late September, branding “Goer” into Bay of Burma’s storefront window signage on Folsom Street—a block from where Wabl was arrested in October.
Wabl is scheduled to appear in court next on Nov. 30.
The San Francisco Police Department was contacted for comment.
Editor's Note: A previous version said Wabl had been arrested on suspicion of graffiti-related crimes, according to jail records. New information from Wabl's attorney and the DA's office says Wabl was arrested for violating the conditions of his release.
Garrett Leahy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org