A car’s tires were punctured by an unknown object and the hood of the vehicle was defaced with the carving of a swastika over the weekend.
Capt. Joseph Cappelmann, commanding officer of the 112th Precinct, which consists of Forest Hills and Rego Park, noted the owner of the vehicle at 102nd Street and 64th Road isn’t Jewish.
“I’m not sure what the motivation was behind it,” he told the Chronicle Tuesday, “if it was just a personal issue with the parking situation or if it was meant to cause alarm in the neighborhood, which is obviously a possibility.”
Cappelmann said the incident occurred sometime between 5 p.m. last Saturday and 10 a.m. last Sunday.
“It’s a little difficult because there’s a large window of time,” he said.
The NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force is handling the investigation.
This comes weeks after stickers promoting Patriot Front, a white nationalist group, were posted around 108th Street, with the group’s website on them.
“There’s nothing to indicate that it’s related,” Cappelmann said.
Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing), state Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky (D-Flushing), Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi (D-Forest Hills) and Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills) released a statement on the act.
“We are disgusted to learn about this reprehensible crime,” they said Tuesday. “While the owner of the vandalized vehicle may not have been Jewish, we cannot ignore the particular malice behind this incident — which occurred in an area that is home to one of the largest Jewish populations in New York City.”
The commanding officer said the anti-Semitic graffiti was the first seen by the precinct in 2020.
In early 2019, the playground at PS 139 in Rego Park was covered by dozens of swastikas. Three juveniles were later arrested.
Of the 345 hate crimes recorded in the five boroughs last year, 234 were motivated by anti-Semitism.
Cappelmann had advice for any residents concerned about anti-Jewish sentiment.
“You just need to be vigilant and if you see something suspicious, call 911.”