The NYPD Vandal Squad Instagram Isn’t Real

May 14, 2014 | Andy Cush

Last night, an Instagram account ostensibly belonging to the NYPD Vandal Squad began following graffiti writers, photographers, and city institutions (they followed ANIMAL this morning). But even for the Vandal Squad — notorious among writers for their seemingly fanboyish attitude toward graffiti and willingness to steal photos — it seemed a little too brazen to be real.

In addition to encouraging New Yorkers to report graffiti to 311 and posting the squad’s contact information, @nypdvandalsquad has also screencapped a Gothamist headline (on the first page of Google search results for “NYPD vandal squad“) and regrammed longitme graffiti photographer Martha Cooper. Besides, if Vandal Squad wanted an Instagram account, wouldn’t it register under its official name?

ANIMAL contacted the Vandal Squad to inquire about the account, and sure enough, a representative told us the squad “wouldn’t allow such a thing on Instagram,” and that the account was probably run by someone trying to play a joke.

Rest easy, graffiti writers — the Vandal Squad might be following you, but they probably aren’t doing so out in the open on Instagram.