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Graffiti arrests include repeat offenders

A number of arrests for graffiti have recently been made by a special anti-vandalism unit in the 49th Precinct. Vandalism is bad enough, but what might be especially disturbing to some is that the young people arrested already have lengthy rap sheets for graffiti and are vandalizing property close to their own homes.

The transit vandal squad made arrests of two young men in an area that police officers recently volunteered to help clean of graffiti. The brazenness and long rap sheets is nothing new, and the precinct’s commander takes graffiti very seriously.

“Graffiti is one of the top quality of life offenses and we are actively pursuing locking people up for it,” said Captain Nicholson of the 49th Precinct.

Manny Lude, 18, was arrested and charged with criminal mischief, making graffiti, and possession of graffiti instruments on Thursday, May 20. Lude was arrested while writing graffiti on the Verizon store at 2152 White Plains Road with a black marker while a lookout, Sean Rodriguez, stood by. Lude, who lives at 735 Pelham Parkway, has 13 prior arrests, 12 of them for graffiti. Rodriguez, 18, lives at 2255 Crugar Avenue.

Another repeat offender, Wilson Olivencia, 20, was arrested on May 20 for spray painting graffiti on a stop sign on the corner of Paulding and Van Nest avenues. He has been charged with criminal mischief, making graffiti and possession of graffiti instruments. He has been arrested 11 times in the past, 7 of which were for graffiti. Olivencia resides near where he was spraypainting, at 1726 Paulding Avenue.

Community Affairs officer Victor DePierro of the 49th Precinct called the crimes incredulous.

“It is great to have these arrests, especially since we completed a major graffiti cleanup at these locations recently,” DePierro said. “It is amazing that that the individuals have been arrested for graffiti so many times at such a young age, but obviously they are not learning anything if they are going out and doing the same thing they were doing prior to being arrested. The saddest thing is that they are destroying their own community, which makes absolutely no sense to me.”

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