Hate crime vandalism in Montgomery County

February 9, 2011 3:34:16 PM PST
Police in Franconia Township are trying to track down the vandals who painted their hate on the front of a house.

People who live in this Franconia Township community say even though the vandalism happened at their neighbor's house, it feels like it happened to them.

"I didn't see it at first. My son who's 9 saw it and I stopped the car. I was apalled. It actually brought sickness to my stomach and all the neighbors felt that way," neighbor Melanie Hagen said.

And the family that lives at vandalized home certainly feels the same way and then some.

The vandals did their damage during the overnight hours and no witnesses have been identified as of yet.

The victim's home and vehicles were covered with disturbing anti-Semitic messages and symbols including swastikas and religious epithets.

The victims, who are Jewish, did not want to go on camera, but their neighbors and local authorities have certainly been willing to speak on their behalf.

"Just for the case of this family and any family that's ever had their home vandalized or spraypainted with anything, but have it done with a slur to their ethnicity is pretty despicable," Franconia Township Police Chief Joe Kozeniewski said.

As the victims prepare to remove and paint over the damage, some neighbors are carefully finding ways to explain the realities of ethnic and religious bigotry to their children.

"My 8-year-old noticed as we drove down the street that house had been vandalized and I didn't believe it, we drove past, and one of our other neighbors stopped us and asked if we've seen what happened and we drove by again, but it was unbelievable, really," neighbor Nick Mayrides said.

Local investigators tell Action News they are working on several good leads and they may announce a couple arrests later tonight.