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.
“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.