An Astoria man has admitted in court to going on a six-month-long graffiti rampage in the neighborhood in which he left homophobic slurs and anti-Obama messages on homes and businesses.
Yaacov Shemesh, 53, pleaded guilty on Sept. 19 to third-degree criminal mischief, an E felony. Acting Supreme Court Justice Gia Morris, who presided over the ruling, indicated that she will sentence Shemesh at a Nov. 1 hearing to 90 days in jail, five years probation and sensitivity training.
According to Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, between December 2016 and May 2017, Shemesh vandalized both residential and commercial buildings and garages within walking distance of his home with homophobic slurs combined with the name of former President Barack Obama. Occasionally used the slurs would be combined with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s name and former Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Police released a surveillance video of some of the incidents showed a six-foot tall man wearing dark boots, a dark jacket and a Yankees cap. Following Yaacov’s arrest, he identified himself in the video footage and admitted to making political graffiti.
Brown said, “The defendant has now admitted his guilt. For months, he plastered messages of hate and intolerance on various structures throughout Astoria, Queens. The defendant vandalized other people’s property that ultimately required costly fixes. The defendant, as a result of his actions, will go to jail.”