Grand Jury Serves Big Indictment
An Astoria man accused of painting graffiti onto a lawmaker’s former Middle Village office earlier this year was indicted last week for allegedly tagging other locations across western Queens, prosecutors announced.
Michael Mestric, 30, of 46th Street appeared in Queens Criminal Court last Wednesday, Oct. 29, before Justice Barry Kron and was arraigned on a 38- count indictment that included various charges of criminal mischief and making graffiti. He reportedly faces up to seven years behind bars if convicted.
As previously reported in this paper, police picked up Mestric in April for allegedly vandalizing City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley’s office on Dry Harbor Road in Middle Village; the legislator has since relocated to The Shops at Atlas Park in Glendale.
Reportedly, officers tracked Mestric down with the help of an anonymous tipster.
Based on an investigation, police discovered the same tag which he allegedly painted on Crowley’s former office was scrawled onto many locations across Astoria, Maspeth and Woodside.
As a policy, the Times Newsweekly does not disclose the identity of graffiti tags to avoid providing free publicity to its creators.
“Graffiti is not art-nor is it a victimless crime,” Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said in a statement last Wednesday. “Tagging encourages lawlessness. It leads to decreased property values and is expensive to remove. [Mestric] allegedly spray-painted his tag … in numerous places and now will be held accountable for his alleged actions.”
According to law enforcement sources, Mestric allegedly made the illegal markings between May 2013 and just prior to his April arrest.
Painted in various colors, the tags were found scrawled onto the Long Island Expressway pedestrian overpass near Mazeau Street in Maspeth and retaining walls lining the Grand Central Parkway and the Brooklyn- Queens Expressway.
Additionally, prosecutors noted, Mestric’s alleged tag was found on 11 different Astoria locations, including traffic control boxes, fencing and the Astoria Park observation deck.
Total damages from the vandalism are believed to exceed $15,000, Brown noted.
Mestric’s arrest was the result of an investigation by the NYPD Citywide Vandals Task Force, with assistance from the 104th and 114th precincts.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Michael E. Brovner, section chief for the DA’s Gang Violence and Hate Crimes Bureau, which is supervised by Assistant District Attorneys Mariela Palomino Herring, bureau chief, and Michelle E. Goldstein, deputy bureau chief.