Four places in Pikesville, including the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation and an elementary school, were tagged over the weekend with graffiti carrying swastikas, pentagrams and other vulgarities, and Baltimore County police say they are investigating the incidents as being connected.
The graffiti were reported from Friday night through Sunday night, police spokeswoman Cathy Batton said. Batton said police are investigating the incidents as a possible bias or hate crime. All of the places tagged with graffiti are within about a mile of one another.
Sgt. John Soter of the Pikesville Precinct said Tuesday that detectives are conducting interviews but have no suspects. Police said a surveillance video they recovered shows several white boys, about 15 years old, who they believe might be connected to the incidents.
Police found graffiti of swastikas, a hand holding up a middle finger, pentagrams and a Star of David with a swastika inside it on the back of the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation building in the 7400 block of Park Heights Ave.
"I think people are upset and angry," said Andrew Busch, senior rabbi at the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation. "They are not fearful."
Busch said an employee found graffiti Saturday morning that appeared to have been spray-painted in several areas around the congregation, including along the stained-glass windows of the chapel. Employees covered it up and were working to remove it.
The rabbi said that there hadn't been any similar incidents recently but that the weekend vandalism shows there is a need to continue to educate others about what those "hateful symbols" mean.
Jonathan Schwartz, an aide to County Councilwoman Vicki Almond, who represents Pikesville, encouraged residents to attend the monthly Police Community Relations Council meeting Tuesday at the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation.
In another incident, police said graffiti on an apartment building in the 6600 block of Sanzo Road had a pentagram with a swastika in the middle and the figure 666.
Evelyn Joy Caintic said she hadn't noticed any unusual activity outside her apartment Friday, but after returning from an early-morning run, her daughters told her police had stopped there. She said she believed her apartment might have been vandalized because of its location.
"This wall was targeted because it can be seen by many going to Shoppers," she said, referring to the supermarket in the nearby Greenspring Shopping Center. Traffic from the apartment complex must pass her building to enter the shopping center's parking lot.
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Caintic, who teaches in Baltimore and moved to the neighborhood four years ago from the Philippines, said her family did not feel targeted because they are not Jewish. But she said they are concerned about the symbols in their neighborhood, where many Jewish families live.
The third incident was in the 3000 block of Northbrook Road, where a 1999 Subaru Legacy was sprayed with a pentagram and the word "Satan," Batton said. More pentagrams were sprayed on traffic signs in the area, she said.
Police found more pentagrams and vulgar, sexual and anti-police graffiti on the side of the Wellwood International Elementary School and the Greenspring Shopping Center in the 2800 and 2900 blocks of Smith Ave., Batton said.
All of the graffiti is on private property and some has been removed, Batton said. She said the owner of the Subaru did not feel targeted, but that police were investigating the graffiti as a bias incident.
Soter encouraged residents to report any suspicious activity to police by calling 410-307-2020.