A 21-year-old man was indicted Tuesday for allegedly defacing three Upper East Side synagogues and one Jewish volunteer ambulance with anti-Semitic graffiti — and told The Post he’s “just an artist.”
Lenny De La Rosa smirked as the charges were announced in Manhattan Supreme Court as Judge Althea Drysdale charged him with four counts of criminal mischief in the fourth degree as a hate crime – in connection to the series of hateful acts that spanned less than 48 hours in mid-August.
De La Rosa – who could face between 16 months and four years behind bars if convicted – pleaded not guilty.
He also scoffed when a Post photographer questioned him about his motive for the back-to-back acts, as he left court.
“A funny man you are, bro,” he replied. “Have a beautiful day though.”
When pressed by the photographer about whether he is “anti-Semitic” or “hates Jews,” De La Rosa insisted: “I love everybody.”
“Can you stop harassing me?” he pleaded. “I’m just an artist. I don’t know what you’re talking about. Can you stop recording me?”
When interviewed by a detective, he went on a long tirade, in which he said he “just so happened” to tag the synagogues, according to another court document.
“To be honest, I didn’t choose it, Islam chose me,” he said. “To be honest, when I was growing up, all of my friends were Muslim so that’s kinda that. I also had a lot of friends from Columbia University and they were Jewish. Don’t get me wrong, I had Jewish friends.”
The suspect suggested that his race negated the possibility that the crimes would be considered hateful.
“I am not going to sit here and say I hate Jewish people because I am black,” he added. “Nah bro, I like Jewish people. Trust me, bro.”
“I wouldn’t really consider myself antisemitic, because anything that black people do is anti-Semitic to any other race,” he continued. “That’s f–ked up because we get put down worse, but it’s cool.”
De La Rosa’s crime spree began around 7 p.m. Aug. 12, when he allegedly scrawled “JESUS SAINTZZZ” on a screen in front of Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun Synagogue on East 85th Street near Lexington Avenue, according to the criminal complaint.
Two days later, at 3:45 p.m., he wrote “DEAD RIIP” on a glass display in front of Temple Shaaray Tefila at East 79th Street and 2nd Avenue, the court document charges.
Less than 30 minutes later, he graffitied the words “Dead Rip” on the side of a Hatzalah ambulance – part of a Jewish volunteer ambulance service – at East 85th Street and Lexington Avenue, the court filing states.
About five minutes passed before he wrote “Dead B-P” on the front door of Congregation Or Zarua, at East 82nd Street and Lexington Avenue, according to the complaint.
In each case, when authorities confronted him with photos or videos of his alleged vandalism, De La Rosa brazenly responded, “That’s me. That’s my work.” or simply, “That’s my work,” the complaint states.
“As alleged, Lenny De La Rosa defaced three synagogues and an ambulance in a series of antisemitic acts,” District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a statement. “Synagogues are sacred places where everyone should be able to practice their faith safely. We will not allow our houses of worship to be violated by hateful acts and we do not tolerate bias and antisemitism.”
De La Rosa has no criminal convictions, but he has open cases for assault and criminal mischief, Assistant District Attorney Nicholas Kania said in court.