Police arrested a 28-year-old man for alleged vandalism of city trains and discovered an arsenal of weapons in his Queens apartment last week.
Police found that the graffiti suspect, Keylan Levine, had 1,542 cans of spray paint, an assault rifle modified with a bump stock, a .25 caliber pistol and ammunition, and other weapons in his Ridgewood apartment when they searched it on Aug. 2. He was charged with criminal possession of a weapon, criminal possession of stolen property, possession of a large capacity ammunition feed device, criminal mischief, making graffiti and criminal trespass. He had previously been arrested for spray-painting a PATH train in 2013.
Detective Nino Nevarra, a first grade detective in the Transit Bureau Special Operations District, led the investigation that resulted in Levine’s arrest. Nevarra, who has been on the job more than 30 years, found footage of Levine in the home of another graffiti writer who had been arrested in 2017.
Graffiti writers publicize their train tags online and in graffiti magazines because graffitied trains are taken out of service so the public does not see them. But that publicity also helps lead police to suspects.
Nevarra traced Levine’s graffiti style to a case of vandalism from 2014. Unlike many graffiti writers who always use the same tag, Levine wrote different words in the same style, such as “boat,” “out” and “canal,” Nevarra said.
Police expected to find graffiti paraphernalia in Levine’s home, but they were surprised at his weaponry.
“I have no idea what he was doing with those guns, but I can tell you the gun was modified for an assault weapon,” Nevarra said. “It was not a hunting gun anymore, it was an assault weapon, which is pretty scary. And he had the ammunition too, which is doubly scary.”