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Swastika Graffiti Suspects Caught on Video

By Wil Cruz | January 11, 2012 8:50am

MIDTOWN — Vandals accused of scrawling swastikas on storefronts near Bryant Park were captured on security video footage.

The NYPD released film of four people wanted for the attacks on the Penguin Clothing Store, the Kinokuniya Bookstore and an office building, all on one block of Sixth Avenue.

It shows two females and two males leaving the book store on Sunday. It shows one of them stopping to draw a swastika.

One of the male suspects was shown pulling a black wheelbag and carrying a red backpack, police said.

A security guard discovered the graffiti Sunday at 4:30 p.m. and contacted authorities.

The vandalism drew the attention of elected officials and Jewish leaders, who denounced the graffiti and called it a "crime against humanity."

"We are committed to stopping this trend of hatred that goes against everything this city believes in," said Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. "These kinds of disgusting, disgraceful acts have no place in New York and in our society."

The Anti-Defamation League is offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case.

"The swastika is the worst symbol of hate to mankind," said Ron Meier, of the ADL. "A hateful attack on any group, be it Jews or others, is an attack on all minorities, all those who are vulnerable in society."

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, too, spoke out against the hate graffiti.

"I don't know what goes through the minds of people that do that," the mayor said in a statement. "The swastika is a symbol of a terrible period in human history. Why anybody would want to use it, I don't know."

The NYPD dusted the windows for fingerprints, but were unable to find any.

They are asking the public to contact them with tips at the NYPD's Crime Stoppers hotline at 800-577-TIPS. Tipsters can also submit information at www.nypdcrimestoppers to text 274637 (CRIMES) and enter TIP577.