Baltimore County Police are investigating a rash of vandalism incidents that occurred at multiple Pikesville locations over the weekend.
Graffiti that included anti-Semitic images, satanic images and sexual images were found at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, Wellwood International School and Greenspring Shopping Center, police said. Images were also discovered on vehicles, stop signs, sidewalks, parking signs and the side of an apartment.
“One surveillance video recovered shows several young, white male juveniles, approximately 15 years old, who may be connected to these cases,” Cpl. Cathleen Batton said in statement. “The video is not being released at this time pending the ongoing investigation.”
The incidents are being investigated as a bias-related crimes, which are motivated by race, religion, ethnicity or sexual orientation, Batton told the JT. In bias-related crimes, she said, police make a special effort to consult with community leaders.
Toba Rainess, deputy director of the Baltimore Jewish Council, condemned the acts.
“It’s just a terrible thing for the community. It represents the worst elements of our society,” Rainess said. “We, along with our friends of all faiths in our community, believe that we should not stand for this type of action.”
Baltimore Hebrew Rabbi Andrew Busch said the building was defaced in three separate locations, including the Hoffberger Chapel. And, because the vandalism occurred Friday night, congregants saw the graffiti, which included swastikas, on their way into Saturday morning services.
“We never want it to happen, but it was very upsetting that it happened on Shabbat of all days,” Rabbi Busch said. “I’m hopeful [police] may find someone.”
As of Wednesday morning, the images were covered with white paper as synagogue staff determines the best way to remove them.
“Given the nature of the surfaces upon which it was written, it’s going to take a little work to make sure [their removal] doesn’t damage the building,” Rabbi Busch said. ‘
Rabbi Busch added that he addressed congregants toward the end of Saturday morning’s service and advised them to refrain from jumping to conclusions.
“I encouraged people to not assume anything. We know what they did and when they did it, but we don’t know who they are and why they did it,” Rabbi Busch said. “It’s a reminder that we need to be vigilant but not extreme in our reaction.”
Police are encouraging anyone with information about the suspects to contact 410-307-2020.