At 10pm on March 5th, Webster Stone, who lives at Charles Street and West 4th Street, kept hearing a loud buzz. “I couldn’t place it, I couldn’t figure out what it was, and it irritated me.”
Getting up from his couch, Stone checked to see if it was the washing machine or the dishwasher, and then checked every electronic gadget in the house. “I couldn’t figure out from where it was coming. Then abruptly it stopped.”
An hour later there was a loud knock at Stone’s front door. Thinking it was a friend, Stone opened the small door window to shout “Boo!” But it was two police officers from the Sixth Precinct. “Is this your property?” asked one officer. “You’d better take a look at this.”
The side wall of the townhouse had been “tagged” with three-foot-high graffiti. Stone quickly put it together: “That was the buzz I kept hearing. It was the spray can, but from outside.” The officers took Stone’s details for their report.
“I wish I could have caught him,” Stone told them, “I wish I had just gone outside.”
“Actually he was caught,” said one officer. “Someone saw him, told him to stop, and he took off. Apparently the witness then chased him down, all the way to 22nd Street, caught him, and now we have him in custody.”
Stone pulled out a business card. “Can you give this to the guy who caught him? Let him know I owe him a couple drinks.”
The townhouse is often a target of graffiti such that nearly two years before the co-op had decided to simply paint the side of the building instead of leaving the original 1866 brick. “It was a shame to paint over that brick,” explained Stone, “but getting graffiti off brick is much tougher than simply painting the wall over.”
Weeks later Stone was asked to sign a supporting deposition for the office of the New York District Attorney, which he did. Subsequently all records have been sealed, presumably due to the defendant’s age. The district attorney refuses to release any information regarding the case.
The townhouse wall was painted two weeks after the incident, in a color Benjamin Moore refers to as “Charles Street Red.”