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Suspects Arrested in Graffiti Spree

August 14, 2014

Public and private property hit

By Michael Turton

Cold Spring Police have arrested three suspects in connection with an outbreak of graffiti in several village locales late Saturday night (Aug. 9) and into Sunday morning (Aug. 10).

Mayor's Park was vandalized on Monday night (Aug. 11). Photo by M. Turton

Mayor’s Park was vandalized on Monday night (Aug. 11).

In a press release issued Wednesday (Aug. 13), CSPD Officer-in-Charge George Kane said that a 17-year-old (male) has been charged with making a false written statement and making graffiti. Two 16-year-olds (males) were also charged with making graffiti. Both charges are Class A misdemeanors. The suspects were arraigned and will appear in Cold Spring Justice Court on Oct. 8. Their names cannot be released because they are minors.

Kane commended CSPD Officers Greg Walz, Ed Boulanger and Gary Marino for their work that led to the arrests.

A new level of vandalism?

Graffiti has been a problem in Cold Spring for years, however the most recent spray-can painting spree may have crossed the line into a more serious and far more extensive display of vandalism.Residents awoke Sunday morning to a rash of graffiti on both public and private property that went well beyond the pedestrian tunnel and other locations that have been defaced numerous times in the past.

The letters "SK" are included in the graffiti on this vent atop the roof of the Ellen Hayden Downtown Gallery — and may be the "tag" used by one of the vandals to identify his/her work.

The letters ”SK” are included in the graffiti on this vent atop the roof of the Ellen Hayden Downtown Gallery — and may be the ”tag” used by one of the vandals to identify his/her work.

Much of the damage was centered near Main Street on both sides of the tracks. Graffiti was sprayed onto two vents on the roof above the Ellen Hayden Downtown Gallery. A small sign was stolen from the exterior of Bijou Galleries. The pedestrian tunnel was hit, as was the bridge over the Metro-North tracks.

Near the approaches to the bridge, sidewalks, a rock outcrop and a number of traffic signs were defaced. The concession building and picnic tables at Mayor’s Park were also hit as was a car and Foodtown.

Vandals may have left their signature

On Monday (Aug. 11), The Paper spoke with two contacts who asked not to be named. One said that the vandalism is believed to be the work of persons known for having painted graffiti within the village in the past and that their personal “tags” are evident in the weekend outbreak.

The letters “SK” can be clearly seen in at least two of the weekend graffiti sites, including the rooftop. The contact provided the first names of two alleged offenders to The Paper, which in turn gave them to the CSPD. The second contact said beer had been consumed and a chair broken on his/her porch on the night of the graffiti binge. A credit card receipt for the purchase of beer was left at that scene and was handed over to CSPD.

Cause unclear

While some consider graffiti to be an art form, artistic merit was not obvious in the latest spate of spray-can vandalism.

While some consider graffiti to be an art form, the weekend's vandalism did not rise to that level.

While some consider graffiti to be an art form, the weekend’s vandalism did not rise to that level.

The cause of vandalism, including graffiti, is far from crystal clear. In his article on CleanLink.com titled Graffiti Psychology: Why Vandals Strike, Benjamin F. Walker quoted clinical psychologist Dr. Jeffery Chase who said, “… many people, especially children and adolescents, will often resort to vandalism in order to vent. Vandalism to me is basically anger.”

Chase added that while individuals tend to vandalize because of anger, groups often do it for social reasons. “There is that socialization quality of trying to fit in, be involved in the gang, and be accepted,” Chase said.

Photos by M. Turton

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8 Responses to Suspects Arrested in Graffiti Spree

  1. Lillian Rosengarten Reply

    August 13, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    In my view, graffiti represents anger in the form of anarchy. Although I do not condone destruction of property, there is much anger and hopelessness that results from the actions of the U.S. bombing and killing, as in the “humanitarian” excuse in Iraq, that does nothing to bring peace to a country the U.S. has ravished. In addition the U.S. steadfast support of Zionist Israel in their systematic efforts to destroy Palestinians through brutal occupation and now genocide in Gaza, has disgraced the meaning of democracy in the U.S. As long as white police continue to murder black youths along side the mindless corporate one percent that holds our President and Congress in their greedy hands, what do you expect should be the result?

  2. Ann Fanizzi Reply

    August 14, 2014 at 4:00 am

    Although graffiti was a problem, it was obviously not dealt with seriously and so from small, episodic incidents, Cold Spring is experiencing a full blown manifestation of the Giuliani theory of the “broken window,” which he and his administration viewed very seriously as a prelude to more serious crime.

    I assume that Cold Spring has statues against vandalism but the penalties attached may need some tightening and some adjustment in severity. That does not preclude community action, enlisting especially students and young adults.

  3. John Anthony Reply

    August 14, 2014 at 7:19 am

    Maybe when they are caught, the court can give them the sentence of cleaning off all that paint and community service to pay for all the damage that their pent-up anger has caused. That would be very therapeutic in helping them get ahold of their feelings.

  4. Donald MacDonald Reply

    August 14, 2014 at 11:12 am

    Ann Fanizzi and John Anthony have it exactly right. This type of behavior should be met with real and “take-notice” consequences. The effects of graffiti degrade our lives in the Village. We cannot stand for this type of behavior.

  5. Ann Beddingfield Reply

    August 14, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    The graffiti is all over the place and some of it may not be “cleanable.” In other words, some signage may have to be replaced. There is a state statute that applies even if there is no village ordinance. (Don’t know if there is a village ordinance.) The penalty for a Class A Misdemeanor is a prison term up to one year and a fine up to $1.000, and restitution could be ordered on top of that.

  6. Tom Campanile Reply

    August 15, 2014 at 8:35 am

    Well done, CSPD! I agree with the previous four posters. There should be zero tolerance for this type of behavior and it should not be excused or otherwise rationalized as “teens being teens.”

  7. Carolyn C. Bachan Reply

    August 15, 2014 at 11:06 am

    I’m very surprised that the charges were limited to the graffiti and the false statement. Were these youths not also involved in breaking into the old hospital and The Grove? Wouldn’t that be trespass or breaking and entering? Were they the same youths involved in the smoldering fire at the hospital some months ago? The current graffiti not only defaced traffic signs but also the U.S. Post Office box in front of Foodtown.

    Wait for it: the apologists who claim they are “really good kids” and ask, “Weren’t you a kid once?” Awww… throw the book at these snots.

  8. Kathleen E. Foley Reply

    August 15, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    It’s entirely up to Judge Costello, of course, but I quite like the idea of having the punishment fit the crime. Scrub brush, bucket, have at it. Would hate to see Ed Trimble’s crew spending their precious time cleaning up the mess.

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