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News Maryland Baltimore County

Swastika painted on roadway in Lutherville

A swastika was spray-painted in red on a road near an elementary school in Lutherville this weekend, and neighbors are hoping it will be removed before schools reopen Wednesday.

"As I was approaching, I was like, 'That isn't what I think I just saw in the road.' I had to back up and look again," said Ellen Birkenthal, a resident of Tenbury Road who spotted the symbol — used by the Nazis in World War II and considered anti-Semitic — on Sunday. "I just find it very offensive."

The mark was painted on Tenbury Road near Charmuth Road, near Hampton Elementary School, Birkenthal said.

Birkenthal, a board member of the Dulaney Valley Improvement Association, said neighbors began calling her about the swastika and other red spray paint found in the neighborhood. Such vandalism is unusual for the neighborhood, she said.

She called Baltimore County police, and they said she'd have to request that county highways remove or paint over the spray paint.

Birkenthal said she did, also on Sunday, but was told the holidays would make it more difficult for crews to respond. She was also told by police that it would be illegal for her or other members of the association to take matters into their own hands and paint over the symbol themselves.

The county Bureau of Highways was closed Monday and could not be reached for comment.

On Monday afternoon, Birkenthal said the symbol was still there, and she was concerned that, because Tuesday is also a holiday, crews won't remove the offending symbol until sometime Wednesday. At that point, students will have already returned to Hampton Elementary, and many will likely see the mark.

krector@baltsun.com

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