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Two busted in pool hall hustle

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Two teenagers who pulled a knife as they hustled a customer at a local pool hall out of his iPod found themselves behind bars last week for the robbery as well as the graffiti tags they left at the place, police alleged. Officials said that 17-year-old Ulysses Castro and 16-year-old Fernando Trejo were taken into custody Friday, charged with menacing and making graffiti. While the two were charged with the iPod theft, cops from the 68th Precinct said that their renewed push against graffiti vandals led them to the two taggers. Police Officer Adrian Harris, the precinct’s new graffiti officer, was investigating several tags that surfaced inside the pool hall, located at 65th Street near 8th Avenue. During the course of the investigation, Officer Harris was able to obtain a video of the suspects allegedly tagging up the place. After identifying Ramos and Rejo as the alleged taggers, cops took the two teens into custody. They were then connected to the incident with the knife, which occurred on March 25, investigators said. Officials at the 68th Precinct said that the suspects’ tell-tale tags would be put into a database that the precinct has created that would help them identify graffiti vandals easier. “Right now we’re looking for other spots that they might have tagged,” said Deputy Inspector Eric Rodriguez, the commanding officer of the 68th Precinct. “We’ll monitor the spots and if we see those tags go up, we’ll have a good idea who is responsible.” The database is shared with the NYPD Vandal’s Squad, which investigates graffiti vandalism throughout the city. Rodriguez said that the most effective tool in regards to fighting graffiti is early reporting. “The more people report the graffiti sees, the easier it will be to build up the database and ID the people responsible,” he said, adding that routine clean-ups, which the NYPD sponsors with the city, is also a boon when it comes to keeping the streets graffiti free. Now that the weather is getting warmer, the clean ups have begun, he said. As the ongoing war against graffiti vandals continues, cops are continuing to offer up to $500 in reward money to anyone with information that can lead investigators to graffiti vandals. The hefty reward is part of the city’s ongoing push to rid New York of graffiti vandals. Graffiti is one of the leading quality of life complaints brought to police. Police said that without constant investigations and clean-ups, one’s neighborhood can be perceived as a community that will tolerate criminal activities such as drug dealing and prostitution since they tolerate graffiti. Anyone with information about graffiti vandalism is urged to contact either 311 or 911.

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