Louis Schiavello, 22, of Bayonne was arrested by Bayonne and NJ Transit police on July 18 for numerous incidents of spray-paint graffiti that appear to have taken place during a two-week period prior to the arrest.
NJ Transit police asked Bayonne for information on a possible graffiti artist and arrested him on July 18 for two alleged incidents on NJ property. Bayonne police apparently had been investigating incidents around Bayonne.
Following his release from NJ Transit at the Hoboken office Schiavello was arrested by Bayonne police.
Det. Captain Walter Rogers said they toured the city allowing Schiavello to point out sites at which he’d allegedly painted graffiti.
“They had this individual under surveillance and they asked if we were familiar with him and if we had arrested him previously for graffiti,” Rogers said. “We were able to assist them in identifying this gentleman, and after he was arrested and released by NJ Transit, we picked him up to ask him about a number of similar incidents in the city.”
Rogers said Schiavello cooperated and pointed out four locations in Bayonne where he’d allegedly painted graffiti.
Afterwards they searched his house and found 10 cans of spray paint, some with up to five nozzles and stored in a camouflage bag. These, according to Rogers, allegedly allowed Schiavello to change the thickness of the spray paint when drawing.
Police said they also uncovered the original stencil of the character, Ron Burgundy, from the film Anchorman: the Legend of Ron Burgundy. The fictional character was played by actor Will Ferrell and the image became Schiavello’s trademark.
NJ Transit Police arrested Schiavello on July 18 after they caught him allegedly spray-painting the image of Burgundy with the word “Lanolin?” on the rail bridge near the 22nd Street station of the Hudson Bergen Light Rail. The image appears on the 21st Street side as well, and on the brick wall on the north side. NJ Transit believes Schiavello may also have allegedly painted an image near the 45th Street Station.
Police said they found as many as 15 homemade stencils, which were used to make other graffiti that they had located.
Rogers said, “We found a camouflage bag that had one Ron Burgundy stencil in it, several cans of spray paint, five spray nozzles of various kinds he said he used for different thickness, and 15 homemade stencils.”
Subsequent to this arrest, investigators from the Bayonne Police Department went through the city looking for additional graffiti that matched some of the stencils.
The department issued additional warrants for Schiavello’s arrest, and he later turned himself in and was charged with additional counts.
Along with several sites connected to New Jersey Transit, including the two areas near the 22nd Street Hudson Bergen Light Rail Station, Bayonne police said Schiavello has been charged with spray painting near Avenue C and 26th Street, a concrete barrier at another location in the city, inside Stephen Gregg County Park, and a location near pilings of a bridge near the border with Jersey City on JFK Boulevard.
Schiavello was charged for two incidents on NJ Transit property, and two charges of fourth- degree criminal mischief for damage in excess of $500, as well as four disorderly conduct charges for damage estimated under $500.
Schiavello apparently has a lot of talent as an artist, but police said the alleged incidents caused damage to public and private property.
Schiavello is among a number of graffiti artists who build their reputations throughout the area, gaining status from posting in places that are difficult to access. Each artist generally has some moniker or style that is recognized by others. And they are all very competitive.
The city has a strict ordinance against the sale of spray paint to minors that is used in these incidents, and stores are checked frequently as part of sting operations to determine if paint is being sold to minors. But often young people get paint from outside Bayonne or from local stores despite the threat of fines.
“They had this individual under surveillance.” Capt. Walter Rogers
Al Sullivan may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.