Mount Laurel Police Looking for Suspect Who Painted Swastika on Jewish Home

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Despite an ongoing investigation, Mount Laurel Police have been unable to determine who painted a large swastika on the house of a Jewish family somewhere between 11 p.m. July 17 and 1 a.m. July 18. 

Despite an ongoing investigation, Mount Laurel Police have been unable to determine who painted a large swastika on the house of a Jewish family somewhere between 11 p.m. July 17 and 1 a.m. July 18.

According to Stephen Riedener, deputy chief and public affairs officer, a detective assigned to the case has yet to establish anything more than a timeline.

“There hasn’t been any history of something like this,” said Riedener, who’s been on the force 19 years. “When you have something possibly inflammatory we want to get to the bottom of it and do it quickly, so we can put an end to it.

“But right now it remains unknown.”

The detective canvassed the development, which consists of a number of townhouse condominiums, but has yet to come up with a suspect. At the same time, the Anti-Defamation League has been in touch with the victims, whose identity remains private.

“Any time there is a swastika or symbol of hatred, it’s extraordinarily upsetting,” said ADL Regional Director Nancy Baron-Baer. “Our goal is to reduce hatred and when you see something like this in communities, it’s just further evidence of what we all need to be do together and the importance of the ADL.

“We’re monitoring the situation and keeping in touch with the victim, the police and the [condominium] association. Often when something’s done in the dark of night undercover in a large area where there’s not video surveillance equipment, it’s very often hard to find the individual who’s committed the act.”

The incident also was troubling to Rabbi Benjamin David of Adath Emanu-El in Mount Laurel.

“Clearly, the swastika is associated with great hate and intolerance throughout history,” said David, who indicated that he hadn’t encountered such an incident in his five years there. “It’s unclear what the motive is. Is it a random act or is this a family being targeted?

“Certainly I’ll see if I can involve myself more. A lot of times like these the inclination is to stay quiet. My inclination is to speak up. This is generally a very inclusive place to live.

“My reaction as the grandson of Holocaust survivors — I had four German grandparents who got out at various times — is that the swastika has associations that are scary and fly in the face of everything this country is supposed to stand for.”

Contact: [email protected]; 215-832-0729

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Andy Gotlieb is the managing editor of the Jewish Exponent. He holds 31 years of experience in communications, mostly in journalism, with a decade in public relations, too. Prior newspaper stops include the St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the Tampa Tribune and the Philadelphia Business Journal. The first 17 years were spent in print journalism, where I covered, at various times, business, politics, crime and government, among other beats. The final 2.5 years in that stretch was an editor at the Philadelphia Business Journal, where my responsibilities included complete control over a weekly section and working with both staff writers and freelancers. In late 2005, I switched gears and began working in public relations for the next decade. I learned the ins and outs of public relations -- including being on the other side of the media-PR equation -- and made numerous contacts. I rejoined the ranks of journalism in March 2016, starting as the managing editor of the Jewish Exponent.

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