Monsey synagogue found with swastikas, 'antisemitic vandalism'

Ramapo police are investigating after several swastikas were found in a Monsey synagogue.

The police do have a person of interest they want to talk to, but the person hasn't been deemed a suspect, according to police Lt. Chris Franklin.

Swastikas, scrawled with what appeared to be ballpoint pen, were found including behind a coat rack and under a counter where coffee is made in the synagogue on Suzanne Drive, according to the police.

A computer screen was scratched using some object, but the police said it was difficult to make it out whether it was a swastika image.

“I am appalled by the antisemitic vandalism found inside a Monsey synagogue," Rockland County Executive Ed Day said in a statement. "Any act of hate is an insult to our entire county and will not be tolerated and I am confident the town of Ramapo Police Department and Rockland County Sheriff’s Office will get to the bottom of whoever is responsible for these incidents.”

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Wilbur Aldridge, regional director of the NAACP's Mid-Hudson and Westchester regions, said, "Certainly, we feel that's despicable. And until such time as we begin to criminalize some of these acts, I'm afraid, unfortunately, they will continue. But we need to certainly speak out against hate at all times."

Certain criteria have to be met for something to be considered a hate crime, but the police are looking at that as a possibility.

The police said the incident is believed to have occurred before the weekend but was reported to the police on Sunday.

An Anti-Defamation League report said the number of antisemitic incidents in New York City and its suburbs rose significantly last year.

Rockland's eight reported incidents in 2021 was a 100% increase from 2020 while Westchester's reported 23 incidents was a 28% increase, according to the report.

This year, in Westchester, four Croton-on-Hudson teenagers are accused of spray-painting antisemitic graffiti in May under a bridge near the New Croton Reservoir in Yorktown and trying to frame a classmate for the vandalism.

The Yorktown police said they arrested three 17-year-olds and an 18-year-old after graffiti was discovered. According to police, those teens allegedly spray-painted the graffiti and included a classmate's name and initials, hoping that classmate — who wasn't involved — would be blamed, police said.

Michael P. McKinney is a breaking-news reporter for the Journal News.

This article originally appeared on Rockland/Westchester Journal News: Ramapo police investigate after swastikas found in Monsey synagogue