Police & Fire

Mahopac Suffers Town-Wide Graffiti Attack

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 Here, Hannah Melchner stands next to the Welcome to Mahopac sign on Croton Falls Road that she helped cover with a tarp after profanities had been spray painted all over it. Credits: Melchner Family/Friends
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MAHOPAC, N.Y.— Graffiti vandals struck Mahopac Friday night (March 25) and left a wide swath of damage that has left town residents angry and disgusted.

Carmel Police Chief Mike Cazzari said that his department received calls and texted photos of the damage from distraught residents.

“They spray painted graffiti on the roads, street signs—civic signs—and Realtor signs,” Cazzari said “They wrote profanity and drew pictures of genitals.”

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One reader wrote on Mahopac’s Facebook page, “What they drew in front of my driveway is disgusting. [They drew on] my garbage cans and I don’t know how to remove it.”

Cazzari said that much of the graffiti contained the “F” word, and statements such as “’F’ the police.”

“It’s extensive throughout the town,” the chief said.

Two of the more prominent signs that were damaged include the “Welcome to Mahopac” sign on Croton Falls Road and the sign at the entrance to Airport Park, which had been created as an Eagle Scout project by a local Boy Scout.

The vandalism upset Mahopac attorney Joseph Tock and his wife, Jean. The couple is offering a $1,000 reward for help leading to the arrest and conviction of the vandals. The Carmel Police Benevolent Association (PBA)—the police department’s union—is matching that reward with a $1,000 contribution of its own.

“This defacement is an attack on all of the positive things about our town: charity and volunteerism,” Tock said. “Many of the town’s ‘welcome’ signs and park signs were donated to our town by local Boy Scouts through their Eagle Scout projects. Eagle Scouts fundraise for their projects through car washes and bake sales, and our community always contributes to these great efforts. It is a disgrace for someone to destroy the projects that beautify our community.”

Some residents who saw Facebook postings of the vandalism took it upon themselves to go out and cover the damaged signs with tarps.

Cazzari said investigators suspect that more than one person was involved in the vandalism because more than one color of spray paint was used.

“And they were definitely mobile,” he said. “They didn’t do this walking.”

Cazzari said the graffiti was mostly profanity and didn’t contain racial slurs or anti-Semitic ramblings, though, he notes, that has happened before.

“We have gotten the kind of stuff with racial bias and swastikas and things like that,” he said, “but this was mostly just profanity.”

Cazzari said a water district pump house on Heather Drive has experienced a chronic graffiti problem, something he called “extensive,” but noted he didn’t think there was any connection between that and last weekend’s attack.

Police recently made an arrest for another graffiti attack, Cazzari said, but he doesn’t believe there is any connection with the Easter weekend crime.

The chief said that there was no physical property damage is last weekend’s vandalism—“nothing was broken”—just the spray-painted graffiti.

“But it makes people feel unsafe,” he said. “We are taking this very seriously.”

He said that investigators will examine surveillance videos from area businesses to see if they could provide any clues. If the culprits are caught, Cazzari added, they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

“You want to send a message so that this doesn’t happen again,” he said.

Anyone with any information on the graffiti attack can call the Carmel Police Department at 845-628-1300 and ask for Detective Stephen Kunze.

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