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Astoria man who went on anti-gay graffiti spree arrested by police

June 5, 2017 By Christian Murray

The police have arrested a man responsible for a rash of homophobic graffiti that has been scrawled on several buildings throughout Astoria this year.

Yaacov Shemesh, a 53-year-old Astoria resident, was arrested Thursday night for scrawling 22 hate-filled messages throughout the neighborhood, police said.

Shemesh first struck on March 20, according to police, when he sprayed “Obama f—-t” on the outside of Pistilli Towers at 31-19 Newtown Ave., the building that houses the offices of State Sen. Michael Gianaris and Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas. He spray-painted this location multiple times, according to police.

He also, according to police, vandalized a number of garage doors on 23rd Street (between 28th and 29th Avenues) scrawling in black paint: “Obama Faggot” and “Obama Dyke.” He targeted this location several times.

Police captured video of Shemesh on two occasions while scrawling his homophobic graffiti. One of those videos was released last week where he was seen spray-painting doors with black paint.

 “The man pictured is now apprehended,” Deputy Inspector Peter Fortune, the commanding officer of the 114th Precinct, wrote on Twitter, next to a wanted poster of the suspect. “Great job by POs Kenefick & Lichte, keep up your hard work & dedication to make #Astoria safe.”

Police said the officers recognized Shemesh from a poster.

Gianaris thanked the police for their work on the case and wrote on twitter, “There is no amount of bigotry or xenophobia that can tear our diverse neighborhood apart.”

Councilman Costa Constantinides also thanks the NYPD.

Shemesh has been charged with 22 counts of aggravated harassment, 22 counts of criminal mischief, 22 counts of criminal mischief with the intent to damage property and 22 incidents of making graffiti.

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Click for Comments 
Chacki soliloquy

Come on guys he just had a nervous breakdown he didn’t harm no body it can happen to people sometimes in theirs life not justifing the actions by no mean absolutely wrong but there’s a drug dealers and rapists on the streets of New York worse then him give him a break…,

Poparoo 46

Yaacov sheesh? What is that maaaaaan? Come on your 53 yr old Man, maaaaaaaaaaaaan! Your name is funnnny maaaaaaan.


Great job by the 114th precinct! I now hope that some of the remaining graffiti will be removed, preferably at the expense of the perpetrator.

Jim M

Want to stop all this vandalism? Put a price on it and have him financially compensate all those affected by his acts. And if the vandals are minors, then pass the bill on to those responsible for them.


After going to court he most likely will be billed for the damages. But if he doesn’t have any money nothing will be collected .

This won’t stop all this vandalism because most people committing crimes don’t have ” getting caught ” as a possible option in their head .


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