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Cops Baffled by Prolific 'ICOPS' Tagging on North Side

By Benjamin Woodard | October 11, 2013 8:33am
 A prolific tagger has been spray-painting "ICOP" on the North Side, especially along Devon Avenue, police said.
A prolific tagger has been spray-painting "ICOP" on the North Side, especially along Devon Avenue, police said.
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DNAinfo/Benjamin Woodard

WEST ROGERS PARK — Police are looking for a prolific tagger who has been spray-painting "ICOPS" on buildings all over the North Side, especially along West Devon Avenue, authorities said.

And they're stumped about what it means.

"Why would someone be tagging in a Pakistani, Indian and Jewish area?" said Rogers Park Police District Cmdr. Thomas Waldera at a community CAPS meeting Thursday night. "What does ICOPS mean? It's really quite baffling."

Waldera said the graffiti has popped up on "every third building" on Devon, but has also been reported in other areas, like on the Northwest Side, in Edgewater and in suburban Skokie.

"He's just tagging up the whole North Side of Chicago," he said.

Sgt. Bob Kane, with the district's community policing office, encouraged neighbors to report all graffiti to the district and keep an eye out for when the ICOPS tagger strikes again.

"We're looking for this person," he said.

Waldera said the Chicago Police Department usually knows "right away" what a tag means, but in this case, it's a "mystery."

He said he's convinced it's just one person doing the tagging.

"Two guys could not recreate this," Waldera asserted, adding that the tagger takes advantage of high-profile locations. "He loves the attention."

One ICOP tag can be seen in the 2500 block of West Devon Avenue on the west side of a building that houses a meat market and a carpet store. The building is next to a vacant lot.

Sonny Hersh, a CAPS facilitator for West Rogers Park, said the tag started showing up two months ago.

"It's usually vertical," he said. "It's all over the place. Now that you know about it you'll probably see it."

Hersh also encouraged residents to report ICOPS sightings.

"If they ever nail him," he said, "he's going to be in for a rude awakening."

Waldera also warned residents at the meeting about a "spike in burglaries" from cars and homes near Devon.