Swastika scratcher targets Bay Ridge

Car hood hate: Somebody scratched swastikas into the hoods of cars lining 74th Street in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Photo by Derrick Lytle

A vandal carved swastikas into six cars parked on 74th Street in Bay Ridge early Sunday morning, leaving residents on the leafy block on edge — even though they do not believe they’re victims of a hate crime.

Residents living between Third Avenue and Ridge Boulevard woke up on May 20 to find the hate symbol etched into their hoods.

“It’s a horrendous, horrendous thing,” said resident Roberta Simson, whose husband David found the offensive engravings on their car at 7:30 am. “The neighborhood is up in arms about it.”

Resident Marian Kelly said her car was parked in her driveway when it was vandalized.

“It was really frightening, because I thought it was me alone,” Kelly said.

Police took reports and dusted the vandalized vehicles for fingerprints on Sunday. An NYPD spokesman confirmed that detectives from the Hate Crimes Task Force had taken a look at the swastikas, which were drawn backwards, but investigators haven’t gleaned a motive from the automobile desecrations. Until they do, the case remains a criminal mischief, the spokesman said.

Neither Kelly nor Simson are Jewish and both said that none of the other cars damaged were owned by Jewish residents.

Kelly doesn’t believe that the vandalism was committed by a white supremacist or someone looking to frighten Jews.

“It was probably just some moron,” Kelly said. “Either way, I’m out $1,000.”

The car scratchings in Bay Ridge come just months after vandals sprayed swastikas and anti-Semitic slogans on buildings in Williamsburg and Midwood, neighborhoods with large Jewish populations.

David Simson said that he was surprised to see Bay Ridge — which is 77 percent white according to the 2010 census, and remains predominantly Irish and Italian — was added to the list.

But he was no less offended.

“I don’t think we took this any lighter than people from those other neighborhoods,” the 37-year Bay Ridge resident said. “The Nazis were one of the most unspeakable criminal groups of the 20th Century.”

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at (718) 260–4507 or e-mail him at wbredderman@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/WillBredderman

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