Middle Village Wakes Up to Graffiti

Middle Village Wakes Up to Graffiti

One man went on a graffiti binge through Middle Village, indiscriminately marking up about two blocks with yellow spray paint on the morning of Tuesday, Jan. 31, police said.

At a meeting of the civic group Communities of Maspeth and Elmhurst Together, the commanding officer of the 104th Precinct said cops don’t know what set off the painting spree, but they caught him nonetheless.

“We’re still not sure what he was doing,” Capt. Michael Cody said. “He’s in custody now.  He damaged a lot of property.”

Around 11:30 a.m. an 18-year-old sprayed yellow paint onto just about anything within reach—cars, fences, garages and homes—along Juniper Valley Road, said Thomas Bell, CommunityAffairs Officer from the 104th.

The alleged vandal started at 74th Street and ended at 72nd Street where a bystander stopped him and held the man until police came.

Officer Robert Swistun arrested Adam Demiraj of Middle Village after a 911 call, Bell said, and Demiraj was charged with 13 separate arrests for making graffiti.

The event elicited a response from both Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) and State Senator Joe Addabbo (D-Howard Beach).

“We must continue to send a strong message to vandals: Your graffiti will not be tolerated and you will be caught and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Crowley said in a joint statement with Addabbo. “I commend the 104th Precinct for making graffiti arrests a priority.”

The Senator followed suit.

“These bold acts of vandalism involving both public and private property were cowardly assaults on our quality of life,” said Addabbo. “I’d like to thank the 104th Precinct for their quick response and arrest of the vandal responsible for such widespread blight, as well as the precinct’s tireless efforts to combat graffiti in our community.”

The statement also noted the 104th Precinct made 400 graffiti related arrests last year.

Craigslist Poster Scams Renters

Multiple precincts are also warning renters in the area to be cautious because of a local Craigslist scam.

Cody and other precinct commanders said someone has been advertising an apartment for rent on the classifieds website and then stealing people’s deposits.

The scam is, when a prospective renter or buyer responds to thead, there will be a meeting arranged. The perpetrator will then take a deposit and give a faulty phone number that can’t be traced.

“Once the person comes out they’ll agree upon a sum of money, the guy disappears … and the trail goes dead,” Cody said.

Usually the amount is $1,500 to $2,000, and the perpetrator is described as a Hispanic man, Cody said.

One meeting took place on Grand Avenue at 69th Street, but the incidents have also been concentrated around the Elmhurst-Maspeth border, filtering into the 110th Precinct.

“If it sounds too good to be true, if someone’s asking about real estate or something like that, don’t get into it,” Cody said.

By Jeremiah Dobruck

Forum Newsgroup Photo by Luis Gronda



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