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Auburndale man busted in Astoria graffiti case

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A 32−year−old Astoria man was arrested last week after he allegedly vandalized a neighborhood bank with paint markers, a spokeswoman for the Queens district attorney said.

Keith Alva, of Astoria, has been charged with criminal mischief, making graffiti and possession of graffiti instruments, a spokeswoman for Queens DA Richard Brown said. If convicted, the defendant could face up to one year in jail, the spokeswoman said.

In addition, an Auburndale man was arrested on charges of serving as a lookout, according to the criminal complaint filed by the DA’s office.

City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D−Astoria), who has been a longtime opponent of graffiti in the neighborhood, said he wrote a letter to the DA asking him to pursue jail time against Alva, whom the councilman accuses of tagging western Queens sites for some time.

“They caught this punk red−handed and now we should make sure he pays for destroying our neighborho­ods,” Vallone said. “I want this crime etched on his criminal record forever.”

On Sept. 25, officers from the 114th Precinct allegedly spotted Alva writing “SIDE” with a paint marker on the window of a Marathon Bank on Broadway in Astoria, the DA said.

Police allegedly saw the defendant throw the marker to the ground and apprehended him after a brief chase, Vallone said.

Police also recovered two more markers from the defendant’s pants at the time of his arrest, the complaint said.

Vallone, who has introduced legislation that would increase penalties against graffiti vandals, said the defendant’s tag has been spotted at various sites throughout the city.

According to the criminal complaint, police also arrested Joshua Rogers, of 32−24 190th St. in Auburndale, who was standing next to the defendant and allegedly acting as his lookout.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e−mail at nduke@timesledger.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 156.

Posted 6:38 pm, October 10, 2011
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