For the second time in 18 months, a Jewish community center in Fairfax County has been vandalized with spray-painted swastikas on its exterior walls. The swastikas were discovered early Saturday, said David Yaffe, president of the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia’s board of directors.
Yaffe said that 19 swastikas were painted on the walls near the entrance to the center, which sits in the 8900 block of Little River Turnpike in Fairfax.
“We were shocked the first time that this happened. So, we’re not shocked that it has happened again, but we are profoundly disappointed,” Yaffe said. “We know this does not reflect the feelings of the local community or of the Northern Virginia community, but it is sad that this is taking place in 2018.”
Fairfax police were called to the center a little after 8 a.m., and an investigation is underway. Police said that surveillance video showed a suspect spraying the exterior of building at about 4:30 a.m. No other damage was reported. Still photos released by police show an individual wearing dark pants and a dark shirt over what appears to be a gray hooded sweatshirt.
In April 2017, Dylan M. Mahone, a 20-year-old Annandale man, was arrested and charged with hate-related offenses after the community center, a nearby church and a community college were defaced with anti-Semitic graffiti and stickers.
The Anti-Defamation League reported earlier this year that there were 1,986 anti-Semitic incidents in 2017 — nearly 60 percent higher than 2016. Incidents ranged from physical assault, bomb threats and cemetery desecrations to vandalism and harassment.
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) addressed the incident and the rise in hate crimes on Twitter, saying that such actions should be responded to “with fierce condemnation and an over-abundance of love and unity.”
Fairfax Police ask anyone with information to contact the Mason District Police Station at 703-256-8035. Tips can be submitted anonymously through Crime Solvers by visiting fairfaxcrimesolvers.org or calling 1-866-411-TIPS.