June 27, 2022 By Michael Dorgan
An office worker in Long Island City got a big surprise earlier this month when he discovered that the windshield of his brand-new Tesla had been smashed by a raging vandal with a large wooden sign.
The worker, 33, named Mike, had just finished work on June 13 at around 11 p.m. before making the unfortunate discovery after walking a short distance to his Tesla that was parked near Queens Plaza. Instead of getting in the car to zip home, he found the vehicle’s windshield shattered and police surveilling the scene.
The police, according to Mike, had received a report that a man had been throwing a large wooden sign at parked vehicles along the roadway, including at his car that was parked at Queens Plaza North — near the corner Crescent Street.
The police didn’t have a description of the suspect at the time, but security cameras installed in Mike’s Tesla appear to have caught the hooligan in action. Mike’s car has four cameras pointing in different angles that automatically record if a sensor is triggered, he said.
The first video shows a man — wearing jeans, a white T-shirt and a baseball cap on backwards — throw a wooden sign on top of a car parked in front of the Tesla. The sign appears to belong to the Baroness Bar, located on the next block on 41st Avenue.
The suspect then drags the sign off the car, lifts it high above his head and flings it on top of Mike’s car – smashing the windshield. A picture of the damage shows the windshield on the passenger side of the Tesla caved in.
A second video captured by the Tesla shows the suspect then walking eastbound along Queens Plaza North, throwing the sign against other vehicles.
He then walks back toward the Tesla looking enraged.
Mike, who doesn’t want to make his last name public, said cops told him that five vehicles in total were vandalized that night, including his car and a food truck.
He said it was stomach-turning to see the windshield of his new car destroyed.
“It’s really frustrating, I only bought the car a month ago,” Mike said, noting he paid a hefty $53,000 for the vehicle.
Mike said the windscreen cost him $1,200 to repair and it was not covered by his insurance as his deductibles came to around the same amount.
He is appealing to the public to help identify the suspect and notify the NYPD. The police, Mike said, ran video of the suspect’s face through facial recognition software but didn’t make any matches.
Mike said he doesn’t know what caused the suspect to go on the rampage.
“He was raging,” Mike said of the suspect in the video.
“Maybe he got into a fight, maybe his girlfriend broke up with him I don’t know… it was very bizarre.”
Seconds before the vandalism spree got underway, it appears that the man threw the sign in the direction of a moving van that was traveling westbound on Queens Plaza North. The van can be seen in the video braking and shifting slightly left.
After the van goes through the intersection, the wooden sign can be seen on the road and the vandal then comes into the shot seconds later.
Mike said there has been a sharp uptick in cars being vandalized in Long Island City lately. He said that one of his co-workers had his car broken into in the area recently.
“I’ve been working in the neighborhood for the last 8 years and it’s gotten really bad,” Mike said.
“This was always such a good neighborhood, it’s sad really,” Mike said.
There have been a number of reports of cars being broken into in the Queens Plaza area in recent weeks.
On the night of June 7, five cars parked along Queens Plaza South — between 23rd Street and 12th Street were allegedly vandalized and broken into, according to Jonathan Szott, the chief of staff to Manhattan Councilmember Julie Menin.
Szott said that the side windows on the cars were smashed in and the suspect, or suspects, rummaged through the vehicles for valuables. It is not clear if any items were stolen. Szott said he came across the vandalized cars while walking in the neighborhood.
Looks like Transportation Alternatives has resorted to guerilla tactics to ban cars from New York City