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Arrest Made In Queens Library, Synagogue, Church Swastikas Incident

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Swastika painted on a library in Queens on Friday, Nov. 4, 2011 (Photo credit: Alex Florez)

Swastika painted on a library in Queens on Friday, Nov. 4, 2011 (Photo credit: Alex Florez)

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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) - Queens District Attorney Richard Brown announced that an arrest has been made in a crime that shocked a Queens community.

WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell On The Story

Franco Rodriguez, 40, has been charged with graffiti as a hate crime for allegedly spray painting swastikas on a library, synagogue and church in Jackson Heights.

Rodriguez was arraigned on Saturday.

This comes as authorities in Midwood, Brooklyn deal with a rise in anti-Semitism.

Brown said it was fitting that Rodriguez was arrested on Veterans Day, which honors those who served in World War II fighting against the Nazis, who adopted and corrupted the swastika symbol.

“As a civilized society, we will not stand idly by and allow individuals to mar our neighborhoods with such hate graffiti. When it, regrettably, does occur, those responsible will be brought to justice,” said Brown in a statement.

Rodriguez, who faces up to four years in prison if convicted, was ordered held on $5,000 bail. He is due in court on Dec. 1.

Authorities said Rodriguez used black spray paint to draw three swastikas on a window and two glass doors of the Jackson Heights branch of the Queens Public Library at approximately 5:30 a.m. on Nov. 3.

Later that same morning, Rodriguez is accused of spray painting a swastika on the front door of Congregation Tifereth Israel. The lens of the synagogue’s surveillance camera was also allegedly spray painted.

Rodriguez is also accused of spray painting a swastika on a door of St. Joan of Arc Church sometime before noon on Nov. 4.

At the time of his arrest, Rodriguez allegedly told authorities that he spray painted the swastikas on the three buildings and that he did so because Jewish people were harassing him.

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