Cops arrest alleged vandal of 9/11 memorial

By Simone Weichselbaum & Jan Ransom New York Daily News

The punk who doused an Inwood 9/11 memorial in yellow spray-paint last week was busted Wednesday, police said.

Alex Fernandez, 27, was arrested for tagging the memorial at the Church of the Good Shepherd, on Broadway at Isham St., which includes more than two-dozen memorial stones.

The alleged vandal covered the walls of the memorial garden, which was dedicated in 2002, police said. The stones, which bear the names of the victims, were untouched.

Cops first arrested Fernandez on Nov. 27 for vandalizing a business on Broadway near W. 207th St., said Inspector Barry Buzzetti, the commanding officer of the NYPD 34th Precinct.

“It was a graffiti tag. Nonsense. Kids’ stuff,” Buzzetti told residents Wednesday night. “We want to get this cleaned up as quickly as possible.”

Church officials discovered the graffiti-smeared garden — along with the security gates at Good Shepherd School — on Thanksgiving, and notified police on Nov. 29.

A police spokesman said cops realized the tags were similar, and summoned Fernandez for questioning. He now faces three counts of graffiti charges, the spokesman said.

Fernandez, whose rap sheet includes prior arrests for drugs, is scheduled for a desk appearance next month.

The disrespectful act outraged church officials and the community.

Residents volunteered to clean up the mess, said the Rev. Robert Abbatiello, but the pastor of Church of the Good Shepherd said the church may have to hire a graffiti removal company.

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