R, a Dutch graffiti artist who uses the tag “KRAE,”as shown above, has been labeled a “graffiti tourist” by Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. (photos courtesy of Flickr.com)
The words “Big Apple” often conjure up an image of tourists in hats gawking at skyscrapers in the middle of Manhattan. But a new class of visitors — known as graffiti tourists — are now visiting New York City.
A Dutch native was the first to be labeled a graffiti tourist in Queens after allegedly spray painting a No. 7 subway car at Roosevelt Avenue and Willets Point Boulevard in Flushing last week.
“City officials and anti-graffiti activists have worked very hard over the years —with great success — to keep our subways, highways and buildings from becoming the graffiti-scarred eyesores they were in the past,” said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. “Unfortunately, there is now a serious and growing problem of international graffiti tourism, with graffiti vandals coming to the United States — and especially here to New York City, which is considered the birthplace of hip hop graffiti — to vandalize property.”
R, 23, of Zwolle, Holland, was indicted on charges of third-degree criminal mischief and second-degree reckless endangerment: he allegedly led a police officer on a dangerous foot chase along the elevated subway tracks after he was caught spray painting.
The nine-count indictment also included charges of making graffiti, third-degree criminal trespass and possession of graffiti instruments. B reportedly spray painted his tag, “KRAE,” in four colors on one side of a subway car.
Following his arrest around 2:15 a.m. on Sept. 9, Boxem was released on $5,000 bail and scheduled to be arraigned on Sept. 18. He failed to show up in court for the arraignment and a judge issued a bench warrant for his arrest, according to district attornery spokeswoman Helen Peterson.
B could face additional charges for bail jumping, as well as have his bail revoked, Peterson said. He is now considered a fugitive. If convicted, he faces up to four years in prison.
Calls to B’s lawyer, Marco Wright, we not immediately returned.
The graffiti tourist and two partners, who evaded arrest allegedly spray painted a total of three tags on two cars, causing more than $1,000 in damage. According to the indictment, Police Officer Edwardo Segui, of the Transit Bureau Citywide Vandals Task Force, and fellow officers spotted the three perpetrators and began chasing them.
While his partners escaped, B allegedly led Segui onto live subway tracks in a location through which a subway train had just passed. B is said to have then jumped off the tracks, down to a viaduct and into the street, where he was captured.
It is believed that B was in the city to attend an international graffiti event known as Meeting of Styles, which was scheduled to take place on Sept. 6 and 7, according to Brown.
As of press time, police had not located B.