James Connolly, of 60-05 170th St., and Anthony Larosa, of 61-19 164th St., were charged with 23 counts of criminal mischief as a hate crime, a felony that carries a sentence of up to four years, the Queens district attorney said.A law enforcement source said Larosa, a.k.a "PINZ," has prior convictions on graffiti and criminal mischief counts. Both defendants are due back at Queens Criminal Court June 14. The vandalism was discovered May 18 when residents along 164th Street and Jewel Avenue went to their cars that morning to find "Kill all Jews on 7-14-05" scrawled in black marker across their hoods and windshields. Swastikas were also found on bus shelters, a mailbox and newspaper stand in the area straddling Kew Gardens Hills and Fresh Meadows. The date, July 14, 2005, signifies the anniversary of the day Hitler in 1933 outlawed all political groups beside the Nazi Party and revoked citizenship to a large number of German Jews.Detective Anthony Dangelo, of the 107th Precinct Hate Crimes Task Force, said in the complaint that a police informant on May 18 reported seeing Larosa and Connolly around 1:30 a.m. "huddled over a hood of a car" parked on 164th Street writing with a marker.Connolly later admitted to Dangelo that he wrote "Kill all the Jews" on a car after midnight that morning, the complaint said.The incident brought swift protests from area Jewish leaders and elected officials who held a news conference that same day denouncing the acts, which came just days after the 60th anniversary celebration of the end to the Holocaust.Community heads held another conference Friday, this time on the steps of the Queens Criminal Court house to congratulate police for arresting the suspects they called "hooligans" and "horrible criminals.""I hope it's not considered a kids' prank," said state Assemblywoman Nettie Mayersohn (D-Flushing). "(The defendants) are going to get more attention than they ever bargained for because we'll be there at every turn."Queens Jewish Community Council President Jan Fenster joined a chorus of others at the conference in asking that the city put more money into teaching students about the Holocaust, which is already a requirement by law in schools."Education is the key," she said of preventing such bias graffiti.City Council Speaker Gifford Miller (D-Manhattan) and Finance Committee Chairman Councilman David Weprin (D-Hollis) both promised to take up the suggestion."It shows once again how important it is...to study the Holocaust and other acts of hatred," Miller said. "We must halt it at its root."Reach reporter Zach Patberg by e-mail at news@times
©2005 Community News Group
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