One of the quietest and most beautiful blocks in our neighborhood was recently shaken by a series of acts of vandalism that our area has seen in a long time. Residents of 70th Street woke up on October 15th to find several cars on their block had been vandalized with, among other symbols, swastikas and hate messages.
The hate symbols had been carved or scratched into their cars on October 14th. Then on Halloween night the vandals struck again. Over a dozen cars were keyed. On 69th Lane another car was hit. On Eliot Avenue a woman who lives on 75th Street had a car mirror broken. The residents of course called the police and also the Juniper Park Civic Association. The feeling is that the culprit(s) could be neighborhood teens out for some mischief. Captain Scott Shanley, Commander of the 104th Precinct, however has branded these individuals as criminals and has made finding the vandals a top priority. He has increased patrols in the area with both marked patrols cars and undercover anti-crime units. Over $50,000 worth of damage was been done on the block. The NYPD Hate Crime Unit is investigating and completed dusting the cars for fingerprints. Residents of course are angry but this close knit block is committed to protecting their property and peaceful way of life. The Juniper Park Civic Association has pledged $500 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individuals. The JPCA also has pledged to file civil action on behalf of our members once the criminals are caught.
Earlier this year several cars parked on 75th Street had their tires slashed. The JPCA contacted the Daily News to bring attention to the matter and the police stepped up patrols in the area.
“I doubt whether the people who did this even know the seriousness or meaning of the symbols they have scratched into these cars,” said Robert Holden, president of the Juniper Park Civic Association.
“I blame the parents,”said Debbie Antzoulis, a resident of the block. “Parents should know what their children are doing and if the kids were raised with proper guidance they would never dream of doing something like this,” she added.
Police have leads in the case and as least one teen was seen leaning against the cars walking with trick-or-treaters on Halloween about 8pm. A description of the teen was given to police.
Captain Shanley said at a recent COP104 meeting that the culprit, if age 16 or over will be charged as an adult. He said the District Attorney Richard Brown has been excellent in pursuing charges for such crimes and the courts have come down hard on perpetrators especially given the amount of cars that have been damaged.
Holden said that anyone with information on the crimes should call Detective Philip Terranova at 718-386-2735 or call the Juniper Park Civic Association hotline at 718-651-5865. All calls will be kept confidential.