Spray painted symbols of swastikas were found on road signs and similar defamatory graffiti were found on approximately 12 houses in the Monmouth Heights neighborhood, according to Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Grammiccioni.
The graffiti was found solely in the area of Route 9 and Taylors Mills Road, Grammiccioni said. The Prosecutor’s office was made aware of the defacement at approximately 12:30 a.m. on Thursday and an investigation immediately began.
The Anti-Defamation League issued a statement this afternoon condemning what they referred to as a "hate filled grafitti spree" citing that red swastikas were painted on fences, street signs, sidewalks, mailboxes and even a car. In some areas the words "kill the Jews" were even painted, according to the statement.
"The defacement of public and private property in Manalapan with red swastikas and the message 'kill the Jews' represents an attack on the entire community." Jeffrey K. Salkin, ADL New Jersey Community Director said in the statement. "The swastika is a universal symbol of hate, meant to instill fear and intimidation. By targeting multiple locations the perpetrators in this case intended to send a message to the entire community."
The Monmouth County Freeholders also released a statement on Thursday condemning these acts. “It is shocking and unacceptable, especially in an area that is home to a number of Holocaust survivors,” Freeholder Serena DiMaso said. “The community will not be intimidated by these senseless acts of hate. I stand with Monmouth Heights and the larger Manalapan community in condemning these ugly acts of hate directed at the Jewish community.”
Manalapan Mayor Susan Cohen also made a comment along with the Freeholders saying, “swastikas are all about instilling fear and intimidation. It’s revolting.”
The Jewish Federation of Monmouth County is currently working to enhance security resources in preparation of the upcoming Jewish High Holy Days, Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of Monmouth County Keith Krivitzky said.
The Federation even held a security training the night of the vandalism, according to Krivitzky, and a variety of security resources have been made available to the community and local security experts are available to undergo individual risk assessments.
The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office is working in conjunction with the in investigating this vandalism. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Monmouth County Detective David D’amico at 732-620-2307 or Detective Thomas Mantle of the Manalapan Police Department at 732-446-4300.