May 31, 2021 By Christina Santucci
Police said they have arrested a 57-year-old man and charged him with spray painting dozens of cars in Astoria over the past few months.
Astoria resident Herberto Torres was hit with 46 counts of making graffiti, criminal mischief and possession of a graffiti instrument, the NYPD said.
Cops had been investigating four separate graffiti sprees involving 65 vehicles and dating back more than two months. Torres was charged with 46 of those graffiti incidents, and the rest remain under investigation, according to the NYPD.
Torres allegedly tagged multiple cars with the letter “A” — which is a nickname he uses, authorities and police sources said.
Twenty cars were spray painted between 8:30 a.m. and 10:15 a.m. March 26 on 35th Street between 31st Avenue and Broadway, according to the NYPD.
An additional 20 vehicles were vandalized on 27th Street between 23rd Avenue and Ditmars Boulevard May 18 between 4 a.m. and 9 a.m., and the next day between 9 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. 17 more vehicles were tagged on 33rd Street between 23rd Avenue and Ditmars Boulevard. A mix of white and red-colored spray paint was used in the May 19 spree.
Another eight vehicles were spray painted between 7:35 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. May 22 on 32nd Street between 34th Avenue and Broadway, authorities said.
Police arrested Torres just after midnight Friday morning. He was given a desk appearance ticket and released, the New York Post reported.
Sources told the Post that police tracked the accused graffiti bandit to an auto body shop where he worked after a customer’s car was allegedly used in connection with the crimes.
Torres was previously arrested in October and charged with spray painting more than a dozen vehicles in Jackson Heights with the phrases “BLM” or “AOC,” police said. Court records show that his next court appearance on those charges is in August.
A spokesperson for the NYPD said Sunday that similar graffiti with the letter “A” discovered on a house and car on 63rd Street near 51st Street in Woodside May 19 was still under investigation.