By Bill Parry
The NYPD has released new surveillance of a man suspected of scrawling anti-gay graffiti at least 16 times in locations all over Astoria since early December, police said.
The new video caught the suspect in the act while spray painting the word “FAGS” on the glass door of 27-16 18th Street just after 5:30 a.m. Tuesday, police said.
The same person has been targeting a string of garage doors and the side of a building on 23rd Street between 28th and 29th avenues.
“Those buildings have been targeted three times,” a neighbor, who did not want to be identified, said Thursday. “I live a block away and I saw again this morning while I was walking my dog. I’m horrified.”
The serial vandal has also scrawled his homophobic slurs — targeting former President Barack Obama most often — repeatedly on the Pistilli Towers building that houses the district offices of state Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) and Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria), as well as on bus stops and business signs.
“It’s only a matter of time before this criminal is captured and brought to justice,” Gianaris said. “His brazen flouting of the law will only make it worse for him when he is prosecuted. Our diverse community rejects hatred and discrimination and will not be divided by bigotry.”
The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating the “criminal mischief pattern” and describe the suspect as a 6 foot tall, 200 pound white man, seen in the video wearing a black long jacket with an attached hoodie, black pants and darks boots. The 114th Precinct collects photographic and video evidence at each location before having the graffiti removed.
“We need the community’s help in identifying this individual,” Deputy Inspector Peter Fortune said.
Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS.
“The hateful scribblings that have been polluting our neighborhood do not represent Astoria,” Simotas said. “I am confident that the NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force and the 114 Precinct will catch the perpetrator. I urge anyone with information to come forward. Writing homophobia graffiti is cowardly, childish, criminal and frankly a really sick thing to do. It disturbs the peace and sense of safety that people have a right to expect in our community.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr