Somerville police say they are closing in on two possible suspects in graffiti attacks, two in a two-week period, that included swastikas and other anti-Semitic messages.
Swastikas were found painted on walls in Somerville on Nov. 23, eight days after a Somerville police officer spotted a swastika and the word “Jews” on the wall of the town’s train station.
Police are continuing their investigation and are closing in on two possible suspects, according to Police Captain George Fazio. Both suspects are juveniles.
Police believe the same person is behind both acts.
In both cases, the swastikas were drawn backward.
“I think it’s the same person. All the pictures put together look like the same hand, and they’re the same size. Everything looks the same,” said Fazio.
The new graffiti included about seven different swastikas in a variety of locations: on an office building on Veterans Memorial Drive, on an underpass beneath the train tracks, on the wall of the train station where the initial swastika had been painted, and on a private house belonging to a non-Jew in the same general vicinity as the others.
Unlike the first incident, which included the word “Jews” and a second symbol, this time only swastikas were painted.
Fazio said he believes he’s honing in on the right person. One has been through the system before; the other comes from another town and has been seen with neo-Nazi paraphernalia both in his locker in school and in his car, Fazio said.
“It just takes time; this is not TV,” said Fazio. “It doesn’t get resolved in an hour, especially when it concerns juveniles. But I’m hoping it will be resolved.”
Etzion Neuer, director of the New Jersey regional office of the Anti-Defamation League, said, “This is atypical for Somerville. It’s an area that does not have a history of anti-Semitic graffiti. It’s disturbing and perplexing.”