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Man found hanging from Sacramento building was vandal: police

By Suzanne Hurt

SACRAMENTO (Reuters) - A 30-year-old graffiti artist died after becoming entangled in a rope he used to scale down from the top of an 18-storey building in Sacramento, police said on Tuesday.

The body of Craig Michael Fugate of Vancouver, Washington, was found on Monday dangling from a rope just below the 17th floor of an office block near the California state capitol.

Fugate was apparently in the process of vandalizing the building when he died, Sacramento Police Department spokeswoman Michele Gigante said. Spray paint and other graffiti tools were found on the roof.

Fugate was captured on video entering the 18-story building on Sunday night. He apparently suffocated after becoming entangled in the rope while attempting to rappel down the side of the building, Sacramento Fire Department Battalion Chief Marc Bentovoja said.

The incident is believed to be the second graffiti-related death in Sacramento in the last three weeks.

On March 17, a street sweeper spotted the body of Andre Petkov, 22, of North Highlands below the Interstate 80 bridge overpass in North Sacramento. Fresh red graffiti was painted on the bridge and his hands appeared to be splattered with the same paint, Gigante said.

The deaths of graffiti vandals in falls are not uncommon, said Randy Campbell, who heads the anti-graffiti organization, NoGraf Network.

"Some people would think it would be extreme to climb down a building without the proper gear. But this is something they do on a regular basis," he said.

Campbell said the two most common ways for graffiti taggers to die is to be hit by trains or to fall from high buildings.

(Reporting by Suzanne Hurt; Editing by Dan Whitcomb, Mary Wisniewski and David Brunnstrom)