SAN ANTONIO -

Work has begun to restore the first of three iconic West Side murals allegedly vandalized by taggers this month.

Harvey Mireles, executive director of San Anto Cultural Arts, said he did not know why the group's murals were defaced, causing up $30,000 in damages.

"Now with the support of SAPD, who have made this a priority, I think the person has been identified," Mireles said.

However, a police spokeswoman said no arrest has been made, but the cases are under investigation.

She also said given the damage estimate, the graffiti charge would be a third-degree felony with a 10-year maximum sentence.

Mireles said the alleged tagger is known as "The Mural Killer" on social media.

He also said it's possible a second person was involved.

Ruth Buentello, San Anto's former mural coordinator, said the murals at Guadalupe and San Jacinto, Trinity & Chihuahua, and in the 2400 block of S. Zarzamora, had been virtually untouched by taggers for years.

She said the main designs of each mural were covered over with spray paint.

"So it's pretty intense work that we have to do to restore them," Buentello said.

Mireles said the group would welcome donations to help cover the cost.

He said even those who call themselves "aerosol artists" were dismayed at the damage.

"They're as blown away as we are," Mireles said. "They can't believe someone would touch these murals."

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