Police put a stop to a game of "tag" Friday morning with the arrest of a Shelton man they encountered walking down Morehouse Highway covered in black paint.

Asked by an officer why he was splattered in black paint, 23-year-old Eliot Delapp responded, "I was tagging (painting a stylized name) walls in Bridgeport legally." But police found fresh paint on one of the stop signs at Tahmore Drive and Morehouse Highway, and paint in Delapp's pocket.

Police told the Fairfield Citizen that Delapp then admitted to spray painting two of the stops signs in the neighborhood "in retaliation" against another tagger who goes by the name of "Jynx." Traffic signs in the area had already been tagged by Jynx, and police said Delapp was crossing out that tag and putting his own on the signs.

Delapp was first spotted around 3:40 a.m. Friday when he got out of a car driven by Constance Peyres, 23, of Collingwood Avenue. The officer pulled up alongside Peyres and asked why Delapp got out of the car; she said she thought he was walking to a friend's house. When the officer caught up with Delapp, he said acted nervously and was covered with tell-tale paint.

Peyres told officers she drove Delapp around as he tagged stop signs, but she did not realize that by doing that she was committing a crime. In the car, police said they found a 12-pack of beer also marked with Delapp's tag, and Delapp allegedly said the beer was his. There were also six markers in different colors in the car.

"The reason why it's important arrests were made and the officer did a good job," said Lt. James Perez, a police spokesman, "is because vandalism, if left unchecked, attracts the kind of individual we don't want in town."

He said the town's third train, which has yet to open, illustrates his point. Graffiti vandals have already defaced stretches of the platforms at the new Fairfield Metro station. "There's a history of tagging on that property when it was Bullard's," Perez said. "If you allow a property to be defaced and do not attend to it immediately, it's going to create more of the same and attract future problems."

Delapp, of Coram Avenue, Shelton, was charged with third-degree criminal mischief and released on a $250 bond to appear May 2 in Bridgeport Superior Court. Peyres was charged with criminal liability for the acts of others and released on a promise to appear May 2 in Bridgeport Superior Court.