Stamford police have arrested two men in an investigation into an increase in vandalism targeting businesses and residential properties over the past couple months and at least one suspect is yet to be located.
Michael Fanali, 22, was arrested on criminal mischief charges and Jeffrey Gilleski, 25, is facing marijuana charges.
Police have seized "hundreds of pieces of evidence of tagging" throughout Stamford since December, including "books, murals, drawings, and pictures of graffiti" on buildings. They have documented at least 39 graffiti incidents.
"These incidents are a nuisance to the public eye and cost hundreds of dollars to properly clean each location," Stamford police said in a news release. "Since this time the Stamford Police Department made it a top priority to combat this quality of life crime."
On Sunday, March 8, a homeowner called police to report witnessing a man spray painting a fence behind the post office on Camp Avenue and gave police a description of the vehicle the person left in. A police officer on patrol saw the car drive in the entrance to the Rivers Edge Condo Complex and a police officer stopped the driver, Fanali, on Haig Avenue while he was speeding, police said.
Fanali admitted to police he was behind the post office where the caller reported seeing the vandalism in action and police found a backpack with spray pain cans and tagging tools inside, police said. The evidence in the backpack led police to another suspect wanted for tagging in Stamford.
Stamford Police Department's Property Crimes Unit searched "the person" of Gilleski, a home at 177 High Clear Drive and the vehicle at the address the next day on March 9. During the search, police found and seized 14 ounces of marijuana and packaging materials for sale of the drug, a .25 caliber Bauer handgun and $4,336 in cash. Police seized his computer and phones and will also be executing further search warrants in the future, police said.
Back on Jan. 23, vandals left several cans of spray paint and other evidence at the scene of a 62 Viaduct Road business that was heavily vandalized. Police said they identified a suspect, but haven't been able to find him.
Police are examining evidence collected to tie "these suspects and several others to the crimes that were committed." Police believe "the crew" is responsible for tags, including "LUNA," "LUNAR," "SLICK," VLER and an expletive.
Police said they may "extend this list" to other tagging incidents.
Stamford police charged Fanali with second-degree criminal mischief and conspiracy to commit the crime and Gilleski was charged with possession of marijuana and possession of marijuana with intent to sell.
Fanali was issued a written promise to appear in court and Gilleski was issued a $25,000 bond. Both are due in court on March 23.
The graffiti incidents remain under investigation. Police ask the public to report any additional graffiti sightings to the department at 203-977-4407.