NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police say they have a suspect in custody in connection with anti-gay graffiti that was painted on buildings in Astoria.

“I don’t know if he’s got a screw loose or if he’s just that hateful, or both,” State Senator Michael Gianaris said.

Gianaris told 1010 WINS’ Andrew Falzon he was relieved to find out that the NYPD has caught the man they believe was behind 22 incidents of hate filled graffiti in the area.

Police arrested 52-year-old Yaacov Shemesh for vandalizing his own neighborhood.

“Well obviously he’s motivated by hatred, just by virtue of the messages that were included int he graffiti,” Gianaris said.

Anti-gay slur, Obama graffiti painted on lawmakers' offices in Astoria. (Sen. Michael N. Gianaris' office)

Anti-gay slur, Obama graffiti painted on lawmakers’ offices in Astoria. (Sen. Michael N. Gianaris’ office)

There were anti-Obama messages, and anti-gay slurs. Gianaris said there’s one more message that needs to be delivered to the alleged vandal.

“Now that he’s been caught, I think that the law needs to treat him seriously and severely,” he said.

He faces charges of aggravated harassment, criminal mischief, and making graffiti.


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