Purple graffiti artist has cops seeing red

The purple painter has left his or her mark on Lyndhurst.

Police are investigating three incidents of criminal mischief, all involving the application of graffiti in the form of splotches of purple paint by an unknown perpetrator.

The defacements occurred within a six-day period, one at a retail business and the other two at a public school, according to police, who presume it’s the same suspect in each case.

Police said the first case of the mysterious prankster came to light on July 19 when they received a report at 9:48 p.m. that someone had painted purple lettering on the rear wall of the Dollar Tree store in the Lyndhurst Town Centre in the 400 block of Valley Brook Ave.

Then, on July 20, the vandal apparently struck again. This time, police were called to Lyndhurst High School, at 3:05 p.m., to check on some lettering scrawled in purple paint on the sidewalk on the west side of the high school field house and on a dumpster in the rear of the school.

The most recent occurrence was reported on July 24 when police were again called to the high school, at 11:07 a.m., where officers found more purple paint outlining the shape of a phallus on the school field in the end zone.

Police Capt. John Valente said that detectives were reviewing video from surveillance cameras in hopes of gathering visual clues that would lead to the suspect or suspects. “It’s still under investigation,” he said last week.

In other matters logged during the past week, Lyndhurst Police logged the following incidents:

July 22

The Lyndhurst owner of a 2005 Buick told police that someone entered their car while it was parked in the 200 block of Tontine Ave., went through the glove box and removed some personal documents. Police said the vehicle was left unlocked.

At 8:46 p.m., police responded to a report of a street fight involving juveniles at Lincoln St. and Fern Ave. At that location, police said they found two individuals, ages 16 and 19, scuffling. Police said they separated the pair and, after the combatants declined to file complaints, police released the younger teen to a parent and let the older one go. However, police said a third individual who allegedly interfered with officers was detained. Waldemar Rozalski, 19, of Kearny, was issued a summons charging him with disorderly conduct and released pending a court appearance.

At 4:24 p.m., police said they recovered a 1998 Volkswagen, reported stolen from Nutley on July 20, from the 200 block of Tontine Ave. where it was partly blocking a resident’s driveway. Police returned the auto to its owner.

At 10:47 a.m., police received a report of criminal mischief from the Lyndhurst owner of a 2007 Toyota who told them that someone had scratched up the vehicle while it was parked in the 300 block of Page Ave.

July 20

Police said they stopped the driver of a 2013 Toyota who, they said, was observed traveling south on Polito Ave. going 45 mph in a 25 mph zone at 1:14 a.m. Frank Algozzini, 28, of East Rutherford, was ticketed on charges of speeding and DWI.

July 18

Police are investigating a report of theft of services from a Bayonne taxi driver. The cabbie told police he’d picked up a fare whom he described as a woman in her mid- 20s with dark hair who wanted to go to a location on Orient Way.

As he neared the destination, shortly before midnight, the cabbie said the woman began yelling that he’d taken her to the wrong place, then abruptly opened the door, got out at Rutherford Ave., and started walking south on Orient Way.

The cabbie told police he exited the taxi to follow her and called police on his cellular phone, only to have the woman turn on him, grab the phone and throw it to the ground, breaking it. The woman was last seen entering a residence on Orient Way, police said.

The cabbie told officers he’d been stiffed on the $25 fare.

When officers arrived at the scene, police said they tried to gain entry to the house but no one answered the door. The matter remains under investigation, police said.

A motor vehicle theft was reported at 12:15 p.m. Police said that someone stole a 1999 Chrysler registered to a Passaic resident while it was parked in the lot at the apartment complex at 601 Riverside Ave. The theft happened sometime after 10 p.m. the previous night, police said.

July 17

At 1:10 a.m., police said they pulled over a 1991 Toyota with a non-working brake light in the 600 block of Riverside Ave. The driver, Douglas Richardson, 22, of Belleville, was issued summonses charging him with a brake light violation, possession of marijuana and possession of a drug inside a vehicle.

– Ron Leir

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