Graffiti vandals caught in the act by their own GoPro camera

DETROIT (WXYZ) - "When you see this video, you won't believe it!" said downtown business owner Larry Mongo about the video of graffiti vandals at work. And here's the kicker: the video is from the vandals' own GoPro camera that they were using to record themselves spray painting the side of a building in the Capitol Park district.

But when they were close to being arrested by police, the two vandals, adult men in their late 20's or early 30's, took off running. One probably thought the other had grabbed the camera, but they both ran and left it behind.

Graffiti vandals have been giving business owners like Mongo the blues for a long time.

Mongo owns Cafe D'Mongo's Speakeasy bar on Griswold and Wednesday afternoon, during a business meeting at his bar, he smelled what he thought was paint.

Mongo went upstairs where he looked out the window and spotted a couple of vandals spray painting the rear of his business.

Mongo yelled for them to stop and the pair ran off. But Mongo couldn't have imagined what would happen about 25 minutes later as he walked across the street to grab some lunch at Louie's Lounge.

In broad daylight, there were the same vandals at work! One man was spray painting "NY PR" and a lot of other stuff on a building.

Mongo alerted the staff inside Louie's and then pulled out the new camera phone his wife bought him so he could get solid evidence of men and their crime.

The vandals can be seen, on the video their own camera was recording, grabbing their paint cans and trying to bolt.

What they don't realize is the alley they're running down is a dead-end.

When the vandals turn around, there's Mongo with his camera phone and another man.

Mongo says one of the vandals tried to take his camera and the two scuffled.

Both vandals ended up getting away and they probably didn't realize until they were long gone that they left their small GoPro camera behind.

Mongo tells Action News, "These guys couldn't take three days in jail."

He's now hoping city leaders see the need for stiffer penalties for this type of vandalism. "I would like to see the city of Detroit make it mandatory.. if you damage something 500 dollars or more, that is one year mandatory jail time. You won't see one paint can in this city."

Benjamin Fraser of Pish Posh video productions downloaded the video for Mongo and found images that the men had been vandalizing in what seemed like other cities around the country.

"Their friends know their tagging name but they get rid of other identifying characteristics so they can do all the bragging without facing the consequences," said Fraser who has posted more of the video on