Mar. 28, 2023 By Zachary Gewelb
Police on March 27 announced the arrest of a Forest Hills man who is believed to be behind a recent spate of antisemitic vandalism across Queens — which included the etching of a swastika into the front of an NYPD precinct — over a weeklong span earlier this month.
Authorities arrested 34-year-old Antoine Blount, of 113th Street in Forest Hills, and charged him with nine counts of aggravated harrasment and three counts of hate crime/criminal mischief in connection with the vandalism.
Blount, who was wanted in eight incidents from March 18 through March 24, is believed to have struck first at the 112th Precinct.
Police say Blount, who has a dark complexion and slim build, used an unknown object to etch two swastikas into the cement in front the precinct — located at 68-40 Austin St. — at approximately 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 18.
Two days later, on Monday, March 20, at 9:21 p.m., he struck again — this time, near a Rego Park school. Two swastikas were found scrawled on the sidewalk and street outside of J.H.S. 157, located at 63-55 102nd St., according to police.
About 40 minutes later, Blount etched a swastika into the cement in front a residential building located at 110-11 Queens Blvd. in Forest Hills, according to authorities.
The following morning, at approximately 9 a.m. on March 21, law enforcement sources said Blount etched a swastika into the cement in front a residential building located at 112-20 72nd Dr. in Forest Hills.
Police say Blount struck again, in two separate incidents, on Wednesday, March 22.
First, just before 2 p.m., he allegedly approached the Reform Temple of Forest Hills, located at 71-11 112 St., and etched a swastika into the front of the building.
Less then two hours later, Blount approached a residential building located at 63-74 Austin St. and etched a swastika into the cement in front of building, police said.
Blount struck two more times, this time within the confines of the 107th Precinct, in the early morning hours of March 24.
First, he allegedly drew a swastika on the sidewalk opposite of 70-17 Main St. just after midnight, police said. Then, Blount allegedly drew two swastikas on the sidewalk in front of 65-30 Kissena Blvd., near Queens College, between midnight and 9:40 a.m., according to authorities.
The NYPD had previously released photos of the suspect on March 23.
Hevesi along with Rep. Grace Meng, Councilwoman Lynn Schulman, and Senators Joseph Addabbo Jr. and Leroy Comrie, issued a joint statement on Tuesday, March 21, condemning the antisemitic vandalism.
“Our local leaders and fellow neighbors will never become complacent in the face of such vile acts of hate,” the lawmakers said. “We remain strong in supporting one another, and condemn these acts of antisemitism and cowardice for what they are. Thank you to the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force for investigating, and our officers at the 112th Precinct for keeping us apprised. We remain confident that the perpetrators will be found and prosecuted, as they have been time and again.”
Blount was formally charged with criminal mischief as a hate crime and aggravated harassment on Tuesday, according to the Queens District Attorney’s office.
“Cowardly acts of hate, especially in front of a house of worship, have no place in our diverse borough and won’t be tolerated,” Queens DA Melinda Katz said. “We have charged the defendant with hate crimes for these antisemitic attacks.”
Judge Anthony Battisti ordered Blount to return to court May 8.