2006-07-14 / Front Page

Cops Catch Graffiti Artist In the Act

By Brian Magoolaghan


Police Officer John Bellico (left) and Sergeant Komorsky line up alleged graffiti artist Andy Lora (wearing bandanas) and two other unidentified teens. Photo by Doug MacleodPolice Officer John Bellico (left) and Sergeant Komorsky line up alleged graffiti artist Andy Lora (wearing bandanas) and two other unidentified teens. Photo by Doug Macleod Police caught an alleged graffiti artist in the act Tuesday as he was using a permanent marker to scrawl a message to other boneheads on a mural on Shore Front Parkway.

Andy Lora, 17, was writing the words "Lost Boyz" on the wave mural on Shore Front Parkway and Beach 84 Street when cops rushed in and busted him before he could even ditch his black marker, according to court records.

The word "suck" was written in magenta lipstick or crayon right underneath the words Lora is accused of writing.

It was unclear whether Lora, who was wearing a green bandana and another black one with a skull-and-bones pattern on it, is affiliated with a gang or band of graffiti artists.

Esther A. Grillo, the Rockaway resident and sculptor who has led the rehabilitation and ongoing maintenance of the wave mural and three other like it on Shore Front Parkway, was disappointed - but not surprised - when she heard about the incident. The memorial, called "Mythical Cavern," is somewhat of a graffiti magnet, she said.

"That one, I don't know what it is, but that's the one that attracts graffiti," Grillo said. The mural, which in 1997 transformed a rundown, decommissioned bus stop into artwork, depicts an underwater volcanic scene complete with mer-people, bubbles and sea grass. It has large areas of negative or empty space, which some see as a blank canvas, she said. Graffiti artists "are using my canvas to make themselves known," she said.

Grillo also suggested that local graffiti artists deface public property out of shear boredom. "Children don't have anything to do in Rockaway," she said. She called for people to assist her with upcoming maintenance projects on the murals. Anyone interested, she said, can contact the Rockaway Artists Alliance at (718) 474-0861.

Lora, of 69-53 Bayfield Avenue in Arverne, was with a teenage boy and girl when he was caught. He is charged with criminal mischief, graffiti making and possession of graffiti instruments. Queens Criminal Court Judge Ira Margulis released Lora on his own recognizance, according to a spokesperson for Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown. The other teens were not charged.

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