Queens Graffiti Artist Charged After Being Picked Up In DWI Arrest
December 11th 2014
Queens Graffiti Artist Charged After DWI Arrest
"Shorty 140" is the signature of a notorious graffiti artist that had an uncanny ability to escape the authorities time and time again. But like most repeat offenders, they eventually get caught.
"This subject, Shorty 140, had been beating us up pretty good along the parkways," said Capt. Elwood Selover, commander of the vandal task force, The task force in charge of preventing and minimizing graffiti.
While many feel graffiti is a form of art, the property owners that are affected and the police force don’t feel the same.
Alberto R. Rodriguez, 33, who has lived in Long Island and in College Point, Queens, was charged in a Queens criminal court complaint with criminal mischief and the felony crime of making graffiti.
Investigators caught Rodriguez Dec. 3 through surveillance and a database that catalogs thousands of graffiti tags across the city, officials said.
It costs the city roughly $1,200 to clean up a single piece of the graffiti, Selover said.
Rodriguez who is represented by attorney Mitchell Elman, declined to comment about the case.
Selover said that an officer actually watched a man last January draw the tag Shorty 140 at the intersection of the Cross Island Parkway and Union Turnpike. For investigative reasons, Selover said he couldn't comment on why the officer didn't arrest the artist at that time.
Selover's unit collected other renditions of the Shorty tag, including one accompanied by the words "RIP John Gotti," and entered them in the database. Eventually, Rodriguez was picked up by police in a Queens DWI case and he was charged with the graffiti offenses, Selover said.
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