continued Under New York state law, criminal mischief that exceeds $1,500 in damage is a Class B felony; such a felony can carry a prison term of up to 25 years. A charge of making graffiti is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000 and not more than one year in prison, while possession of graffiti instruments is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of not more than $500 and not more than three months in prison.
The escalation of the graffiti caused it to be a topic of conversation at the Aug. 8 village board meeting, when Police Commissioner Amy Mann reported on the progress of the investigation. She said the police have recovered fingerprints and footprints at some of the graffiti scenes, and have increased the number of patrols in Lakeland Park. She also said the Cazenovia police are coordinating with the Manlius police, who have had similar graffiti incidents in their village.
“We will not tolerate graffiti in our parks,” Mann said.
Mayor Kurt Wheeler echoed Mann’s sentiments and also said he wanted it known for the record that when the perpetrator(s) are caught the village will seek not only criminal penalties but also fines to reimburse the taxpayers for the cost of all graffiti clean-up.
“This is not something we take lightly. We work very hard to keep our village attractive for residents and visitors, and when people recklessly damage public property we take that very seriously,” Wheeler said.
Hayes said he is confident the perpetrator(s) will be caught within the next two or three weeks.
“This will sound cliché, but if someone wants to come up and be honest about what they’ve done it will be a whole lot easier [on them] than if we have to continue our investigation and spend more money until we catch them,” Hayes said. “Our patrols are hyper-vigilant on this. I’ve told our officers I do not want to see a repeat of this. One way or another, these guys will get caught.”
Hayes asks community members who see anything relating to the graffiti crimes to call the village police immediately, even anonymously, at 655-3276.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.