A 41-year-old Queens man has been charged with a hate crime for allegedly painting swastikas at several locations around his neighborhood.
District Attorney Melinda Katz announced charges Sunday against Kristoffer Bahamonde, of Elmhurst, of criminal mischief as a hate crime, aggravated assault, and making graffiti.
Bahamonde is accused of painting the symbols of hate and other graffiti at three different sites throughout Elmhurst on May 30 and 31. Katz said the 41-year-old painted swastikas on green fences on 54th Avenue and 90th Street, as well as a grocery store near Queens Boulevard and Broadway.
“The defendant allegedly used symbols of hate to deface property and intimidate members of our shared community. In Queens County, we stand together against hatred directed toward any group. This defendant’s alleged actions do not reflect our values or who we are," Katz said in a statement Sunday.
If convicted, Bahamonde faces up to four years in prison. The district attorney said he was expected back in court later this week. Information for his legal representation was not immediately known.
The charges follow an investigation into similar vandalism done to a veterans memorial in that same neighborhood. Words of hate and swastikas were spray painted at the Elmhurst Park Vietnam Veterans Memorial last week.
Volunteers worked quickly to scrub the memorial clean and a reward was being offered for information leading to the arrest of the person(s) responsible.