Graffiti artist scales Brooklyn water tower to paint Super Mario Bros. Question Block, sparks 12-hour standoff with cops

By JOSEPHINE STRATMAN, THOMAS TRACY and JOHN ANNESENEW YORK DAILY NEWS |

A high-climbing graffiti artist sparked an hours-long standoff with cops after he was caught spraying a Super Mario Bros. question block on a Brooklyn water tower Thursday.

Graffiti covers the water tower opposite 67 West St. in Brooklyn on Thursday ,August 26, 2021.
Graffiti covers the water tower opposite 67 West St. in Brooklyn on Thursday ,August 26, 2021. (Theodore Parisienne/for New York Daily News)

The video game-themed vandal was spotted by Greenpoint residents at shortly before 1 a.m. as he painted a large yellow square on a tower on West St. overlooking the East River.

Cops couldn’t find him at first, but an NYPD helicopter shone flood lights on the structure and saw him popping his head through a hatch at the top of the 10-story tower, sources said.

The Water Tower opposite 67 West St. in Brooklyn on Thursday August 26, 2021.
The Water Tower opposite 67 West St. in Brooklyn on Thursday August 26, 2021. (Theodore Parisienne/for New York Daily News)

The vandal stayed in the tower for more than 12 hours, cops said.

Police shut down part of the neighborhood throughout the standoff.

“As officers requested he descend the structure, he retreated inside of it,” NYPD Emergency Service Unit commander Assistant Chief Wilson Aramboles told reporters. “After having no contact with the individual for several hours, officers became concerned for his safety and utilized a drone in an attempt to make contact with him.”

Police spent about thirteen hours waiting for a man to come down from a water tower opposite 67 West Street in Brooklyn on Thursday August 26, 2021.
Police spent about thirteen hours waiting for a man to come down from a water tower opposite 67 West Street in Brooklyn on Thursday August 26, 2021. (Theodore Parisienne/for New York Daily News)

The heavy police response drew criticism online, and Aramboles would not answer a question from a reporter about whether the NYPD’s response was disproportionate to the crime.

The graffito finally let officers know he’d climb back down the tower at about 1:30 p.m.

He left the tower, and police took him into custody, then to a nearby hospital.

WATCH: I spoke with a lot of Greenpoint residents who were concerned (not to mention annoyed) at the large police response to this graffiti artist. I asked NYPD to respond to those concerns at a press conference. You can hear DCPI say they’re not gonna answer my question: https://t.co/EA90XT1MEZ pic.twitter.com/QgUO0udVYs— Christopher Werth (@c_werth) August 26, 2021

Cops have not yet released his name, and the charges against him are pending.

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