Bella Rosa Pizza on Nepperhan Avenue in Yonkers recently became the latest pizzeria to be targeted by an unknown graffiti vandal. The pizza shop’s owners were shocked to discover the colorful addition to their storefront Thursday morning. This is the ninth tag to appear in Westchester County since April.
The distinct spray-painted tag features a gooey yellow pizza slice topped with pepperoni, peppers, and onions. This act of vandalism comes shortly after another local pizzeria, Pizza Pizza on Warburton Avenue, was tagged with a similar image. Many suspect the vandal acted within the same overnight timeframe. Roma II Pizza on Lockwood Avenue was similarly targeted in early June.
While the identify of the graffiti vandal is currently unknown, they were captured on surveillance video by a camera at Pizza Pizza. The video footage is the first time the vandal has been caught on camera. But despite the footage, they have not been identified or located.
Ninth Slice of Graffiti
The pizza graffiti at Bella Rosa Pizza marks the ninth time the graffiti vandal has struck a regional pizzeria. The signature “pizza slice graffiti” has also appeared on the storefronts of Cosimo & Johnny’s Pizzeria in Eastchester, Villagio Pizzeria in Tuckahoe and Pelham, 4 Corners Pizzeria in Pelham, Modern Restaurant & Lounge in New Rochelle, and Pizzeria La Rosa in New Rochelle.
The sentiment among shop owners and their customers is divided. While owners express concern about potential damage to their storefronts, while customers enjoy the colorful urban artwork.
Joe DelBalzo, owner of 4 Corners Pizzeria in Pelham, initially found the tag interesting and thought it showcased a customer’s passion for their pizza. However, he later acknowledged the potential for copycats and has instead encouraged artists to channel their love for pizza through drawings on a chalkboard inside his pizzeria.
Other victims have voiced concerns about the criminal nature of the pizza tags. Tom Nokaj, owner of the Villaggio restaurants, reported the incident to the police and questioned the identity and motives of the vandal. He expressed his frustration in an interview with News12 Hudson Valley.
“I don’t know. It don’t look good, my friend. Who is this guy? I don’t like it. I reported it to the police.”
John Hughes, proprietor of Cosimo & Johnny’s, appreciated the artistic flair of the tag, but recognized the potential negative impact on his business–and had it quickly removed. Out of the nine affected pizzerias, Cosimo & Johnny’s remains the only business to take such action.
Graffiti vandalism is a criminal offense in New York State. Perpetrators may face charges of criminal mischief, potential imprisonment, and substantial monetary fines.