Possible hate crimes at Bay Ridge religious sites
Police have a suspect in custody in an investigation into 11 instances of graffiti throughout Bay Ridge, some of which were found on or near places of worship, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said on Tuesday.
“It sort of ran the gamut,” Kelly said. “Catholic church, Prostestant church, Jewish recreation center, cars and homes.”
But officers didn’t have to do very much to find him: the suspect, 55-year-old Cristos Papademtropolos, reportedly turned himself in, approaching a captain from the 68th precinct outside a TD Bank on 5th Avenue and declaring unprompted, “You got me, I did it all.”
Cops said he was wearing the same clothes and shoes as a person identified in video footage from a local hardware store and two of the sites where graffiti was found.
Papademetropolos has no prior arrests or domestic incident reports, though his wife reportedly called 911 in 2011 and said her husband was acting “strange.” He was not arrested or taken into custody at that time, however. About two months prior to that, he was the victim of a car theft, police said.
Cops said the graffiti was first discovered by a dog-walker at 3:18 a.m. last night on two statues of Jesus and Mary outside St. Anselm, a Roman Catholic church on 82nd Street just down the street from the TD Bank where Papademetropolos reportedly turned himself in.
Patrol officers responding to the report from St. Anselm’s found the word “No” in red spray paint about one foot tall on the Bay Ridge Jewish Center on 81st Street, cops said.
“No” was reportedly also found on the side of the Bay Ridge Prep School on Ridge Boulevard and on the United Lutheran Church’s mailbox, as well as a red square next to the church door. Another one-foot-high “no” was on the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church, also on Ridge Boulevard.
Two homes on 84th Street were also vandalized with “no” and x-marks, cops said, and red dots were discovered spray-painted on the sidewalk in front of a Bank of America on 3rd Avenue. The licenses plates of three cars on 79th Street between Ridge Boulevard and 3rd Avenue were also spray-painted.
Police say Papademetropolos was spotted on video camera footage at an ACE Hardware store at 8115 5th Avenue purchasing red spray paint, cops said. Police said they also caught him on surveillance camera outside the Bay Ridge Jewish Center and the Greek Orthodox Church.
Kelly said all of the incidents occurred at night. No motive is known at this time, the commissioner said.
Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat