A Great Big City

Suspect Charged with Hate Crimes for Penn Station Bathroom Graffiti

Penn Station - Manhattan, NY
Penn Station - Manhattan, NY via scottdurgan on Flickr

A police investigation led to the arrest of Pasquale Vargas for marking a men's room bathroom stall with hateful statements and imagery.

Vargas, a 65-year-old resident of Brooklyn, was captured as part of a surveillance operation where MTA Police detectives observed Vargas leaving a bathroom stall that was previously graffiti-free, but now contained hate messages similar to others observed over the past month. Vargas was searched and a black marker was found in his backpack. He is charged with eight counts of Criminal Mischief in the Fourth Degree, being prosecuted as Hate Crimes.

When questioned by MTA Police, Vargas confessed to the graffiti and said he wrote it "because Mexicans take jobs from Americans." In the similar graffiti incidents in which Vargas is a suspect, hate speech was directed at Mexicans and swastikas were drawn.

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