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Reward issued in swastika hate crimes

City Councilman Daniel Dromm (l.-r.), Community Rabbi Laurie Gold, state Assemblymen Michael DenDekker and Francisco Moya and Michael Nussbaum of the Jewish Community Relations Council. Photo by Rebecca Henely
TimesLedger Newspapers

The culprits who defaced two Queens libraries and a synagogue with swastika graffiti last week were still at large, but police said they were aggressively looking for leads.

“This is an active investigation and the detectives are on the ground canvassing the community for additional video,” an NYPD spokeswoman said.

No suspects had been arrested as of Tuesday evening.

Alex Florez, spokesman for City Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights), said swastikas were spray painted between the night of Nov. 2 and last Thursday morning on the windows of the Jackson Heights Library, at 35-51 81st St.; at the East Elmhurst Library, at 95-06 Astoria Blvd.; and at the Congregation Tifereth Israel of Jackson Heights, at 31-36 88th St. in East Elmhurst.

There was no suspect description as of Tuesday afternoon, police said.

The act was condemned by officials and Jewish leaders Friday, including Dromm, Borough President Helen Marshall, state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone), Council members Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills) and Peter Koo (R-Flushing) and state Assemblymen Michael DenDekker (D-Jackson Heights) and Francisco Moya (D-Jackson Heights).

“We’re here to deplore this type of a hate crime,” Dromm said. “We’re here to demand answers from the Police Department.”

Dromm said a police tower was placed at the corner of 37th Avenue and 81st Street near the library, but was moved after the swastikas were painted — an action he called an “insult.”

NYPD had no comment on the tower.

Koslowitz, whose grandfather was killed before the Holocaust because he was a Jew, said the graffiti made her feel “absolutely sick.”

“In this day and age we’re united, we try to do everything together,” she said, “and for someone to have such hate inside them it’s outrageous and should be punished.”

Marshall said the swastikas offended her as East Elmhurst is a black community.

“I have to get mad about that, too,” she said.

Community Rabbi Laurie Gold said the swastikas are evidence that the community needs to redouble its efforts to fight bigotry.

“I pray that we will continue to work for tolerance and love and understanding,” she said.

Steve Knobel, president of the Jewish Center of Jackson Heights, at 37-06 77th St., said the center would be hosting a showing of the documentary “Paperclips,” in which Tennessee students collected 6 million paper clips in memory of the Jews killed during the Holocaust.

“I thank everybody for doing their part and coming out for this demonstration,” Knobel said.

Dromm urged those who knew anything about the crime to contact NYPD’s Crimestoppers and said there was a $3,000 award for the capture of the perpetrators.

Crimestoppers can be reached by phone at 1-800-577-TIPS, through its website nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting tips to 274637 and then entering TIP577.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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