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Swastika Graffiti Found in Orthodox Williamsburg Enclave, Police Say

By Gwynne Hogan | February 14, 2017 2:36pm
 The swastika was found at 450 Kent Ave., police said. 
The swastika was found at 450 Kent Ave., police said. 
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DNAinfo/Gwynne Hogan

WILLIAMSBURG — A vandal scribbled a swastika inside the hallway of a Williamsburg apartment building that's home to a large number of Orthodox Jews, police said.

Residents of the Schaefer Landing building at 450 Kent Ave. found the graffiti scrawled in grey ink on the 15th floor near the elevator on Friday, police said.

It was reported to police on Sunday.

The Hate Crimes Task Force was called in to investigate, police said. There had been no arrests as of Tuesday.

About a third of the residents of 450 Kent Ave. — a subsidized housing building in a complex shared with market rate condos — are Jewish, said tenant Oscar Sabel, 73, an Orthodox Jew who fled Hungary with his family as an infant after they hid out in a bunker for several months during World War II.

He guessed the swastika was drawn by "some stupid kids."

"They don't even know what a swastika means," he said. "I'm not going to get scared of every nut." 

Still, hearing the symbol had been drawn inside his building is painful, he said.

"It hurts me, because it hurts me," Sabel said.

While the city saw an uptick in hate crimes following the election of President Donald Trump, they've since leveled out, according to Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce.

One of those post-election incidents took place nearby at Independence Towers, a South Williamsburg housing project with a large Jewish population where several swastikas, KKK and Trump were scribbled in stairwells.