Merchants React To Graffiti Arrests

By Jano Tantongco

  Nader Gebrin was happy to have a clean wall on the side of his Union Place restaurant after vandals tagged it, inset, last November.

Nader Gebrin was happy to have a clean wall on the side of his Union Place restaurant after vandals tagged it, inset, last November.

 Photo by Nader Gebrin

Photo by Nader Gebrin

After Suffolk police arrested the three men they say are responsible for defacing eight business and five vehicles in Huntington village last November, some of those affected by the crimes sounded off on Wednesday.

Nader Gebrin, owner of Bravo Nader, one of the businesses that was tagged with graffiti on Nov. 26, remembered being shocked upon seeing the side of his restaurant vandalized.

“To see those green letters, and I did not understand what it meant,” Gebrin, 53, said in an interview Wednesday. “I had to run to Home Depot quickly to get two gallons and remove it immediately because it’s an embarrassment to my establishment.”

Police said that following an investigation they arrested the three men they believe are responsible, two of whom are from the Town of Huntington.

Francesco Volpe, 18, of Huntington was the first to be arrested, police said. They brought him in on Dec. 19. Then, police said, William Strein, 21, of East Northport, was arrested on Jan. 21, and Drake Mandrell, 27, of Queens, was arrested on Feb. 4.

Gebrin, who bought Bravo Nader 20 years ago, was glad to hear that arrests were made. He said the accused may have too much free time on their hands and that “they should get a job,” advocating the motto, “Be productive instead of destructive.”

Along with Bravo Nader at 9 Union Place, police said these Huntington village businesses were also defaced:

• Classic Galleries at 5 Stewart Ave.

• Gold Coast Lobsters at 30 Stewart Ave.

• IMS Online at 13 Union Place

• Nassau X-Ray Corp. at 37 Stewart Ave.

• Stop and Shop at 60 Wall St.

• Value Drugs at 349 New York Ave.

• A building that is under construction at 50 Stewart Ave.

Ron Meyer, manager of Value Drugs, said he saw the graffiti when he came into the store back in November. He remembered that the alleged vandals tagged the doors and the side of the building.

“You play, you pay. Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time,” Meyer said in an interview Wednesday. “It’s defacing property. It just cheapens the town.”

Both Mandrell and Strein face six counts of criminal mischief and six counts of making graffiti each, police said, and Vole faces three counts of criminal mischief and three counts of making graffiti.

 Strein is scheduled to be arraigned on March 18 at First District Court in Central Islip.Arraignment information for Volpe and Mandrell was not available by deadline. Robert Clifford, a spokesman for Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota, said this likely means that Volpe and Mandrell were given desk appearance tickets, posted bail and will be arraigned when the court’s clerk schedules their appearance.

Attorney information for all three of the defendants was not available before deadline.

Police said the investigation is continuing and ask anyone with information about these incidents, or similar incidents, to call the Second Precinct Crime Section at 631-854-8226, or call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-220-TIPS. All calls will remain confidential.