Cleveland Police Search for Antisemitic Vandal After Jewish-Owned Stores Targeted
Police in Cleveland, Ohio, have released a photo of a man they say is wanted in connection with spray‐painting of antisemitic slogans and grotesque images on several Jewish-owned businesses this week.
The photo shows a white man whose features are obscured by dark glasses, a baseball cap and a surgical mask. Police said the suspect was approximately 6 feet tall and in his early‐to‐mid 20s.
The man is wanted for two separate incidents, local media reported. On July 21, Heinen’s and CVS stores were targeted with offensive messaging. Then, on July 25 and the morning of the July 26, several Jewish-owned businesses were defaced with antisemitic language and symbols.
Lt. Todd Kinley of the police department in Cleveland’s University Heights neighborhood told reporters that the vandal could face hate crimes charges.
“That will be up to our prosecutors to ultimately decide what charges, if any, to file against somebody should we develop a good suspect. But it’s certainly on the table,” he said.
An eyewitness who reported the graffiti to the police described the words and images left by the vandal as deeply disturbing.
Michael Levine said that large phallic symbols, the number 666, curse words and other bizarre images and phrases were visible up and down the outer brick walls of two of the buildings targeted — Mika’s Wig Boutique and the Waxman Torah Center.
“There was some writing on the other side of the Torah Center and on Mika’s — it was a full wall,” said Levine. “It had to take them a while, at least a half hour.”
In a statement, the Waxman Torah Center confirmed that “a Jewish learning center near Cleveland was grotesquely vandalized with a swastika and other revolting antisemitic tropes.”
“At a time when hate crimes against the Jewish people are at an all time high, it is especially alarming to have this happen in our own backyard,” it added.