We have done canvasses and...
By Daniel Massey
Nearly two weeks after residents of an apartment complex in Lindenwood awoke to find spraypainted swastikas and other anti-Semitic graffiti covering their property, police were doubtful the perpetrators would ever be caught.
We have done canvasses and interviewed witnesses, but nobody really saw anything, said Sgt. Michael Fanning of the Police Departments Hate Crimes Task Force, which is investigating the case. Without any real witnesses, its slim.
On July 11, residents of 84-12 155th Ave. woke up and discovered their building, sidewalks and garages had been defaced with anti-Semitic rhetoric.
I was walking my dog and I walked to the corner driveway. I looked at the wall of the garage and there was a gigantic swastika, said Philip Sash, who has lived in Lindenwood near Howard Beach for 27 years. On my garage they wrote Jew and right underneath they wrote bagel.
Sash said the vandals appeared to have focused on garages of Jewish residents, indicating they were familiar with their targets.
Witnesses told police they saw five white male teens spraypainting the garage doors at 1:27 a.m. The teens fled on foot in an unknown direction, police said.
Witnesses called the areas private security company, Men in Blue, at 1:30 a.m., but police from the 106th Precinct were not called in until the outfits supervisor arrived on the scene at 7 a.m., Fanning said.
Debbie Velez, captain of Men in Blue, did not return calls seeking comment.
Councilman Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) said the delay in reporting the crime to the 106th Precinct may have ruined the chances of finding the perpetrators in the area.
Its important to report a crime as soon as you see it, he said. When a private patrol sees it, they have to report it to the local precinct immediately.
Fanning expressed hope witnesses might still come forward and help police solve the crime.
The possibility of someone coming forward in the future is moderate, he said. If we can get someone who can identify one of the kids, if the precinct picks someone up who knows about it, it enhances our chances. Other than that its not very likely.
Residents of Lindenwood expressed outrage at the incident.
This was a bunch of stupid kids, said a woman who has lived in the area for two years, but who would not give her name. This is what happens when parents dont teach their kids to study history. The more people are educated the less likely things like this are to happen.
In a separate incident, police said they were investigating a possible bias assault against a black man July 10 at the McDonalds on 159-40 Cross Bay Blvd. in Howard Beach, also in the confines of the 106th Precinct.
Reach reporter Daniel Massey by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 156.
©2002 Community News Group
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