Updated 11/03/2011 11:18 PM
Queens Officials To Stand Against Swastika Graffiti
Police continue to investigate after half a dozen swastikas were found spray-painted onto two Queens libraries and a synagogue Thursday, and community leaders plan to hold a news conference Friday to denounce hateful vandalism. NY1’s Zack Fink filed the following report.
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Four swastikas showed up on the walls of the Jackson Heights branch of the Queens Library Thursday.
At least one more was painted on the library branch in East Elmhurst, and another was etched on the door of a synagogue on 88th Street.
"That somebody comes now in this day and age and does something like this — and this is a house of worship, and this is a place where we distribute food two mornings every month to the needy — and for somebody to come like this, it's totally unacceptable," said one resident.
"Well, I think it's terrible. I think it's absolutely terrible. This has been going on and it shouldn't,” said another. “It's happened quite a number of times."
Police believe the incidents in three separate locations are related. They are being investigated by the hate crimes taskforce. Local leaders plan to hold a news conference Friday to denounce this kind of hateful vandalism.
"These perpetrators are trying to send a message of fear and intolerance to the community, and that's something that we're not going to accept. Jackson Heights is a wonderful community. It's a tolerant community. It's an accepting community," said Queens City Councilman Daniel Dromm.
The vandalized Jackson Heights temple has been serving the community for 75 years. The rabbi, who did not want to speak on camera to avoid drawing attention to the incident, told NY1 that a swastika was spray-painted on the door at about 5:40 a.m. Thursday.
Whoever did it also spray-painted the lens of the surveillance camera first to avoid detection. The swastika had been covered up, but eventually it was cleaned and removed.
"Yeah, I'm very surprised. It doesn't seem like that kind of a neighborhood to me. Lots of diversity in the neighborhood and everyone seems to get on. So, I'm surprised, yeah," said one resident.
Police were notified about all six swastikas that were discovered this morning. The locations all fall under the jurisdiction of the 115th precinct. Police are investigating but so far have made no arrests.
Anyone with information on the case should contact the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS, or text CRIMES and then enter TIP577, or visit www.nypdcrimestoppers.com.