Reporting Pat Warren
PIKESVILLE, Md. (WJZ) — Baltimore police are investigating a possible bias or hate crime. Someone sprayed swastikas, pentagrams and an obscene gesture on the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation building in Pikesville.
Pat Warren reports the vandals hit more than one location.
Windows in the building of the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation are papered over to conceal disturbing symbols: pentagrams, swastikas, a star of David with a swastika inside, an obscene hand gesture and the number 666.
Rabbi Andrew Busch says an employee discovered it Saturday morning.
“The words and the symbols that were drawn on our building and elsewhere are very hurtful and are linked to very problematic histories,” he said.
Police believe whoever defiled the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation building is also responsible for graffiti on the wall of a nearby apartment complex. The worst of it is partially erased. The Wellwood International Elementary School was targeted, along with a stop sign at the Greenspring Shopping Center.
“We had some that were sexual in nature, we had some that were racist in nature, we had some that were anti-police in nature, so at this point, it’s hard to speculate what the motive would be,” said Baltimore County Detective Cathy Batton.
Rabbi Busch had the same to his congregation on Saturday.
“We can’t assume the motivation. Obviously the motivation was not a friendly one; it’s a hateful act. But we can’t assume whether this simply came out of anger, possibly some adolescent’s frustration or whether it came from something deeper,” Busch said.
The graffiti can be removed, but as far as police are concerned, it’s the thought behind it that counts.
“If we do determine that these were hate crimes, there are enhanced penalties for those. There’s also destruction of property,” Batton said.
One surveillance video recovered shows several young white male juveniles, approximately 15 years old, who may be connected to these cases. The video is not being released at this time pending the ongoing investigation.
Detectives are canvassing the area. Anyone with information is urged to call Baltimore County police.