New Hampshire

Authorities Investigating Series of ‘Hateful' Vandalism Incidents in Portsmouth, NH

Swastikas and other hateful messages were drawn with red spray paint on properties around downtown

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Authorities say they are investigating a series of "hateful" incidents of anti-Semitic vandalism that occurred overnight in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

The New Hampshire Attorney General's office said the Department of Justice Civil Rights Unit and Portsmouth police are actively investigating at least 16 instances of swastikas and other hateful messages being drawn with red spray paint on properties around downtown Portsmouth, including a Jewish synagogue, somewhere around 2:30 a.m.

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“This type of hateful and threatening criminal activity, motivated by racial or religious intolerance, particularly at places of worship, has no place in New Hampshire and will not be tolerated,” Attorney General John M. Formella said in a statement. “We will work to find and prosecute whoever is responsible, to the fullest extent of the law."

Portsmouth Police Department
Surveillance images of the person police believe to be responsible for spray-painting swastikas across Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Investigators said they are looking for assistance from residents and businesses in the downtown area, particularly with any video surveillance that might capture whoever was responsible. They said the vandalism appeared to be largely confined to the portion of the downtown area between Deer, Middle and Court streets, with additional instances on Marcy Street.

Portsmouth police posted surveillance footage showing a suspect on High Street.

"The New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office along with our local, State and Federal law enforcement partners encourage anyone with information to come forward," Formella added. "Our communities are safer and stronger when we all join together and have zero tolerance for violence motivated by hatred for our fellow citizens whether based on race, creed, or other protected characteristics."

Anyone with information is asked to call Portsmouth police at 603-616-7656. Anonymous tips can be called in to 603-431-1199 or 207-439-1199 or submitted at www.seacoastcrimestoppers.org.

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