Investigators See Vandalism As 'Bias Type Crime'

ELIZABETH, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Authorities in Elizabeth, N.J. are investigating a possible hate crime after vandals hit the New Hope Memorial Baptist Church daycare building and two church vans with graffiti.

The entire back of the daycare building was marked with swastikas along with ‘666’ – the sign of the devil, WCBS 880’s Levon Putney reported.

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“I don’t think that this is a child playing,” church pastor Steffie Bartley told Putney.

Bartley said his 10-year old daughter discovered the vandalism on Sunday morning. Much of the graffiti has been cleaned off, but some still remains.

“But I’m still struggling with this because I don’t know what this really is about,” he told Putney.

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Swastika graffiti seen at Elizabeth, N.J.'s New Hope Memorial Baptist Church. (credit: New Hope Memorial Baptist Church)

Swastika graffiti seen at Elizabeth, N.J.’s New Hope Memorial Baptist Church. (credit: New Hope Memorial Baptist Church)

“It’s certainly a hateful attempt on the part of the person who did this. So we do consider it a bias type crime,” Union County Prosecutor Ted Romankow told Putney.

“The swastika is a universal sign of hatred,” Romankow told 1010 WINS. “It’s in and of itself considered an evil sign.”

Investigators have been following up on leads and looking at tags within the graffiti to see if it leads to who did it. An investigation is ongoing.

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