Gounardes goes door-to-door in wake of car vandal spree

Pol seeks to reassure residents NYPD is on the case

BAY RIDGE — State Sen. Andrew Gounardes visited Shore Road, the scene of the shocking spree of car vandalism incidents, on Nov. 23 in an effort to reassure residents that police are doing everything they can to capture the suspect and safeguard the public.

Accompanied by his chief of staff, Tori Kelly, Gounardes went door to door on Shore Road from 72nd Street to 77th Street to talk to residents about the rash of vandalism incidents and the crime prevention measures that have been put into place to combat it.

“It’s important to let people know that we are taking this seriously and that steps are being taken,” Gounardes told the Home Reporter.

The NYPD has stepped up patrols in the neighborhood and has taken the unusual step of installing high-density lights along Shore Road to illuminate the area at night and deter vandalism, said Gounardes, a Democrat representing Bay Ridge and several other Southwest Brooklyn neighborhoods.

Two of the residents Gounardes encountered as he went door to door on Saturday were victims.

“I always thought this was a safe neighborhood. But now, I don’t know,” one woman whose car was targeted told the lawmaker.

A man who answered his door in an apartment building on 74th Street said his car had been vandalized. “I was the first person to call 911,” he told Gounardes. The man appeared to be resigned to vandalism as a fact of life in New York City. “What are you going to do?” he said.

Gounardes told the victims about the stepped-up patrols and mentioned the high density lights. They each said they had noticed the measures and felt reassured.

Gounardes handed residents an information sheet with his office phone number and urged them to contact his office with any concerns.

The car vandalism spree has generated a great number of angry comments on social media sites with several people opining that it’s a sign of an increase in crime in Bay Ridge. But the residents Gounardes spoke with appeared calm.

“I know the police are doing what they can,” one resident, Edward O’Connell, told Gounardes.

To date, more than 50 cars that were parked along Shore Road between 72nd and 93rd streets have been vandalized, according to police, who said the crime spree began on Oct. 26. The vandal has slashed tires and, in some cases, keyed cars, costing the owners thousands of dollars in repairs.

On one night alone, 32 cars in the vicinity of Shore Road and 72nd Street were targeted.

Capt. Robert Conwell, commanding officer of the 68th Precinct, told residents at a 68th Precinct Community Council meeting on Nov. 20 that police are looking for a single perpetrator. “Right now, we do believe it’s one individual working alone that is hell-bent on vandalizing people’s property,” he said.

The NYPD released a blurry image of a suspect taken by a security camera.

Councilmember Justin Brannan, a Democrat whose district includes Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and parts of Bensonhurst, has put up a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspect.

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