A former NYPD officer injured in the line of duty...who is also a graffiti artist?! Cops are still trying to wrap their heads around the secret life of retired officer Steven Weinberg, a patrolman who retired in 2001 after hurting his leg on the job. It seems Weinberg had an exciting life outside of work as a prolific graffiti artist with the handle "Neo," tagging subways throughout the 1980s with the Nation of Graffiti (NOG) crew. Weinberg claims he gave up tagging in 1995 when he joined the force at the age of 27. But the Post reports that investigators say the "Neo" tag has started popping up again, and think his idle hands are to blame.
Weinberg was arrested last summer and charged with felony criminal mischief and misdemeanor making graffiti and possessing a graffiti instrument. Police allege that he confessed to at least one recent crime—tagging the walls of the Clearview Expressway in May 2009. But his lawyer says there’s no way he physically could have done it: “He hasn’t been Neo since 1988,” said Patrick Broderick. “It is ludicrous because he is physically incapable of doing that.” Weinberg tripped over a fence while hunting for victims' remains in a homicide investigation, seriously damaging the nerves in his leg. He reluctantly left the force in May 2001, on an approximately $38,000-a-year disability pension. “He didn’t even want to leave the Police Department," Broderick added.
Weinberg sat down for an interview with SubwayOutlaws in which he gave a history of his graffiti exploits, which took place years before he considered joining the NYPD: "I started writing in Flushing, Queens in 1979, mainly hitting-up my name on the stairways in my building, along with a very close friend of mine (who was writing RIOT 1, for a short time). The name I picked was NEO, which means something new...and that's what I was." You can check out more of his tags at SubwayOutlaws and RobotsWillKill.