NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The NYPD is looking into whether the MS-13 gang is making its mark on a Queens neighborhood after graffiti was found scrawled across homes and businesses in Bayside.
A Catholic church and school were also among the targets, CBS2’s Jessica Layton reports.
When Monsignor Thomas Machalski heard his church was vandalized Sunday, he was not prepared to see the name of a notorious gang tied to countless killings.
“When I came down and saw the MS-13 painted on the stone of the front entrance of the church … It is very frightening,” Machalski said.
Surveillance video at Sacred Heard of Jesus Academy across the street caught the masked suspect in the act, leaving MS-13 spray-painted on the doors by the entrance to the school. It prompted a police presence outside ever since and a conversation with nervous kids.
“We just told them that some individuals made some bad choices and did some bad things,” Machalski said.
Several homeowners woke up to find their homes and white fences were hit, along with the corner pharmacy.
“MS-13, same as they wrote on the fences or the homes down the block and the church,” pharmacy owner Chris Tsatsaronis said. “For what reason, I don’t know.”
A parishioner washed the graffiti off the church and nearby school, but that doesn’t erase the fear some people initially felt when they saw MS-13 painted on their property.
Police won’t say yet if this is a warning from an actual gang member or just someone causing problems in the neighborhood.
“Honestly, I just think it’s an idiot,” Tsatsaronis said.
“Could you not have found something more constructive to do with your time and energy?” Machalski said.
Now neighbors are putting their energy into helping police make an arrest.