An unidentified man has vandalized three different sites in New York City with swastikas, including City Hall and the Charging Bull statue on Wall Street, NBC 4 New York reported Wednesday.
The New York Police Department (NYPD) is currently searching for the suspect, who was recorded by cameras while committing the acts. The man "was last seen wearing a black and gray poncho, black jeans and multicolored sneakers," had a black backpack and appeared to "walk with a limp," according to NBC.
Officials condemned the crimes as bigoted and antisemitic.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul mobilized state police and said, "An attack on a Jewish New Yorker is an attack on all of us. If you commit a hate crime, you are picking a fight with 20 million New Yorkers," NBC said.
New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio shared this sentiment, tweeting "This would be outrageous anywhere in our city but it’s especially galling for it to happen outside the building where the people’s work is done," NBC added.
The Anti-Defamation League's New York/New Jersey branch also expressed shock and outrage at the crimes, stating on Twitter: "Deeply disturbed that vandalism presenting a swastika and racial slur were found at City Hall, a symbol of NYC itself."
Deeply disturbed that vandalism presenting a swastika and racial slur were found at City Hall, a symbol of NYC itself. Help us send the message that #antisemitism & racism have no place in our city: if you have any info, please contact @NYPDHateCrimes or @NYPDTips. https://t.co/bjUoXWm5f2— ADL New York / New Jersey (@ADL_NYNJ) December 15, 2021
Police believe the same man suspected of committing the acts of vandalism at City Hall and on Wall Street may be connected to another incident, in which a swastika was scrawled at a construction site in the downtown area, according to CNN.
The series of incidents comes amid an increase in antisemitic hate crimes in New York state by almost 50% this year compared to 2020. Last year, 121 hate crimes targeting Jews were reported; this year 179 were reported.
People with relevant information regarding the acts of vandalism should contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.