HOLBROOK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — There were disturbing signs of hate discovered in Suffolk County on Monday.

Swastikas were discovered on a fence and police believe the suspects were targeting Hispanics, reported CBS 2’s John Slattery.

About as quickly as it went up, the offensive messages of hate were scrubbed away, but before they disappeared they showed swastikas and letters, police said.

“In red spray paint, the word ‘spy,’ swastikas and then grouping of the word,” Suffolk County Police Lt. Stephen Hernandez said.

Along with a swastika at the end, a grouping, detectives said, that appears to form an offensive Hispanic term. It was spray-painted on a fence in Holbrook along a Long Island Expressway service road, outside the home of a Latino family who were not home. However, one neighbor who suffers from cerebral palsy spoke in their defense.

“Why should anybody be targeting, whether it’s Hispanic, black, Ukrainian, Czechoslovakian? No difference,” Stephen Tychnowitz said.

Police are not sure if the family was targeted, or if the painting was random, but a number of Latino families live into the neighborhood. One resident on the other side of the highway said he finds the messages disturbing.

“That’s not nice. That shouldn’t be done,” John Norwood said.

Police said the painting was criminal mischief as a hate crime, but can’t determine if it’s the work of a graffiti artist bent on bias who has struck before, or someone new.

“It’s terrible. It tears at the very fabric of our society,” Lt. Hernandez said.

Short of any witnesses coming forward, police are hoping whoever did it may have boasted to others, and somebody will call police with an ID.

Anyone with information should call the Suffolk County Hate Crimes Unit at 631-852-6323 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential.

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