Police have no leads in tracking down the culprits who scratched the word “JEW” into the front window of a deli on Main Street in Metuchen earlier this month.
What makes the incident even more puzzling is that neither the owner nor any employees at the Fresco Deli are Jewish, said Administrative Sgt. Dave Liantonio of the Metuchen Police Department. Additionally, the Orchid Glatt Kosher Restaurant, located directly across the street, was unscathed.
“This is going to be a tough one,” acknowledged Liantonio. There were no witnesses.
The graffiti is several inches high and was discovered by deli workers when they went to clean the window. Owner Erica Agliata told NJ Advance Media that she believed the vandalism occurred between March 5 and 11, but was so faint it was not readily noticeable. She said she was just as offended as everyone else. The window has been replaced.
Such incidents are rare in Metuchen, which is also home to Congregation Neve Shalom. Its longtime cantor, Hazzan Sheldon Levin, said he was surprised. When asked if had ever heard of any other instances of anti-Semitism in the borough he replied, “Never.”
Liantonio, on the force 21 years, said he couldn’t recall the last time there had been anti-Semitic vandalism. He also said the logic of such perpetrators, who are often youthful, was hard to figure out.
“When I first started on the job someone scratched an anti-Semitic slur into the window of my mom’s car,” he said. “I went to nine, 10 years of Catholic school and you can’t get much more Roman Catholic than Liantonio.”