On Friday, June 2, police arrested Yaacov Shemesh, 53, of Newtown Avenue in connection to these crimes. He was charged with 22 counts of aggravated harassment, criminal mischief, criminal mischief intent damage property, and making graffiti.
It was originally reported that on March 20, graffiti was found in two places at Senator Michael Gianaris’s and Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas’s Astoria office, located at 31-19 Newtown Ave. The words “Obama f—-t” were written in blue marker on the outside of the building.
Shemesh allegedly struck again one week later by leaving the exact same message at the same location. One month later, the graffiti resurfaced with the phrase “Obama f—-t” written on three parking garage doors in the neighborhood.
Senator Michael Gianaris said, “The acts of senseless vandalism our community was forced to endure in recent months were outrageous and unacceptable. I thank the men and women of the 114th Precinct and the Queens District Attorney’s office, especially Deputy Inspector Peter Fortune, District Attorney Richard Brown and Assistant DA Barry Frankenstein, for their hard work and successful efforts to apprehend the suspect and bring him to justice. There is no amount of bigotry or xenophobia that can tear our diverse neighborhood apart.”