NEW YORK (CBS 2) — A bike battle has a Queens lawmaker calling for a crackdown on vandals. He says he was targeted in a crime that was caught on camera, and now he wants tougher penalties.
New York State Assemblyman Michael DenDekker says when the car of an elected official is vandalized, the penalty should be beefed up. He was angered over what was done to his car ten days ago, which has since been repaired.
DenDekker’s vehicle was parked outside his Jackson Heights home, and he has video to show what actually happened.
The tape appears to show a bicyclist riding up to the assemblyman’s vehicle, stopping and then breaking off a side mirror before riding away.
“This was a deliberate attempt to damage the vehicle. It was done intentionally, not by accident,” DenDekker told reporters, including CBS 2’s John Slattery.
DenDekker, whose car has assembly plates, believes he was specifically targeted because of legislation he proposed about bicycles. He proposed and then withdrew a controversial bill that would have meant a $25 registration fee on bicycles and adding a license plate on the back.
“I believe they might not have agreed with my position and wanted to retaliate against me,” he said.
Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras says her car has been vandalized three times, possibly for her political positions. She supports DenDekker’s call to increase the penalties from a misdemeanor to a class E felony for criminal mischief on the property of an elected official.
The penalty would increase from a possible one year prison sentence, to as much as four years behind bars.
Some constituents agree with the idea, while other believe the penalties should be the same across the board.
In the meantime, police are hoping to identify the bicyclist in the security video.