Whitestone biz wants vandals to come clean

Anthony Cammarata said he will find the people responsible for vandalizing a box truck outside his business.
TimesLedger Newspapers

A Whitestone business owner has surveillance footage of two graffiti vandals damaging his property, but instead of calling police he is hoping the young men turn themselves in — or someone does it for them.

Anthony Cammarata, whose family runs a Venezia Tile store, has footage of two young men spray painting his truck, the outer wall of his business and the security gate of a neighboring business at around 4:40 a.m. New Year’s Day. He is offering $100 to anyone who can bring in the vandals responsible and make them clean off the paint.

“These guys forgot to look up,” he said, referring to the multiple security cameras he installed on the top of his building.

“Eventually we will go to the police, but we are giving them a chance to make this right,” Cammarata said. “I just want them to come clean this up and hopefully learn not to damage someone else’s property.”

The family tile business has operated in Whitestone since 1990. And since Cammarata grew up and now works in the neighborhood, he has made a lot of friends and knows a lot of the neighborhood kids.

“I know all the kids around here,” he said. “I will find them. It’s just a matter of time.”

He has done it before.

Cammarata’s property has been vandalized more than five times since the shop moved to 160-44 Willets Point Blvd. about 16 years ago. At one point, he had a painted American Flag and bald eagle mural defaced — a crime he said crossed the line.

Cammarata has caught some of the culprits so far, putting out the message through the prepubescent grape vine in local parks and other teenage hangouts.

Sometimes the kids he catches are as young as 12. Sometimes they are 18 or older.

Either way, Cammarata said he will find his man. He has seen similar graffiti on streets in Whitestone and Bayside, which leads him to suspect it is the work of a local resident.

The images on the security cameras show the face of a young man in a light-colored hooded sweatshirt and dark coat, along with another young man also with a hoodie.

He said that usually the youngsters he catches are good kids from good families, which is why he tries to keep it in the neighborhood.

“Sometimes I’ll see them a week later in the pizza shop and buy them a slice,” he said.

But despite his avuncular attitude toward the Whitestone adolescents, this time the vandal did more serious damage — to the tune of more than $1,000, Cammarata said.

At around 4:40 a.m., two men can be seen walking up to his property along Willets Point Boulevard and scrawling the security gate, according to the video. Then a minute later they walk across the street and tag the stores next door before returning to the tile shop, the video shows.

One of the men stands guard while the other defaces one side of Cammarata’s truck, and then they switch places, the video shows.

He said anyone with information can come into his shop or e-mail him at tiletony@veneziatile.com.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at januta@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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