It's a bad idea to deface national parks. It's even dumber to tag your vandalism across four states and have the images go viral among vexed nature enthusiasts.
But authorities have identified the woman they believe is behind graffiti at eight national parks -- 21-year-old Casey Nocket of New York state.
The National Park Service did not detail how Nocket was identified or whether she had been arrested.
"Investigators continue to collect evidence of the crimes, conduct interviews and are consulting with the U.S. Attorney's Office about potential charges," the NPS said in a statement. "We ask the public to exercise patience and allow due process to take its course as the investigation moves forward."
Nocket is suspected of painting images on rocks and boulders in Yosemite National Park, Death Valley National Park and Joshua Tree National Park, all in California; Rocky Mountain National Park and Colorado National Monument, both in Colorado; Crater Lake National Park in Oregon; and Zion National Park and Canyonlands National Park, both in Utah.
In recent weeks, photos have surfaced in online hiking forums of what appears to be a woman painting graffiti in scenic locales. The drawings includes colorful images of faces in profile and is signed with the phrase "Creepytings 2014."
A California hiking website, Calipidder, first reported seeing social media posts about paintings on national park land. That led Modern Hiker to post several pictures of paintings that it said are by the roaming vandal.
Images of the graffiti were apparently posted on Instagram.
A National Park Service representative posted on Reddit, looking for more photographic examples of the graffiti. And Redditors rallied to help.
Naturalists and hiking enthusiasts are taking to the web to decry the defacement of National Park land.
Someone has even launched a WhiteHouse.gov petition encouraging officials to throw the book at the alleged vandal for violations of federal law.
"There are forums for artistic expression in national parks because national parks inspire artistic creativity," the National Park Service said. "These images are outside that forum and outside the law."
Calling the graffiti in question art is too kind, art critic Ariella Budick said.
"This is appalling -- worse than graffiti," says Budick, art critic for the Financial Times. "I'm not impressed by the art, but frankly, even it were Leonardo it would be wrong."