November 12, 2011 / 9:01 PM / 8 years ago

New York police probe fires, graffiti in Jewish area

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York City police were investigating a possible hate crime in a Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn where cars were set on fire and anti-Semitic symbols spray painted on benches.

Police responded to 911 calls reporting cars ablaze early Friday morning. When they arrived, they found three cars, including a BMW and a Lexus, on fire, according Sgt. Carlos Nieves.

Another vehicle, a red van, had “KKK” spray painted on it, representing the racist group Ku Klux Klan. Police also found eight benches with Nazi swastikas spray painted on them.

“The NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force is actively investigating the twisted person or people who attacked cars, benches, and a sidewalk on a block of Ocean Parkway,” New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in statement released Friday.

The attack happened a day after the 73rd anniversary of Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass, when rioters, encouraged by Nazis, vandalized the Jewish community of Germany, burning and destroying hundreds of synagogues, looting thousands of homes and businesses and killing 91 Jewish people, according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Bloomberg said the timing of this attack may or may not be a coincidence.

“Either way, this kind of hateful act has no place in the freest city in the freest country in the world,” he said.

There is no one in custody and police have no suspects.

Editing by Greg McCune

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