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County road in Desoto County defaced with Swastika

Swastika in DeSoto
Posted at 6:39 PM, Mar 23, 2023

DESOTO COUNTY, Fla. — The DeSoto County Sheriff's Office (DCSO) tells Fox 4 they're investigating anti-Semitic graffiti, including a Swastika.

A Facebook post with the photo was captioned "So this is what this town has to come to."

The symbol was found along NW Pierce Street, east of Arcadia where a stop sign had the word "Jews" spray painted on the sign.

Stop Sign in DeSoto County

This comes two weeks after a separate Cape Coral anti-Semitic incident, now being investigated as a hate crime, where a man tried to break into the Cape Chabad Jewish Center on a Saturday afternoon, as the Rabbi and a group of people were inside after Saturday services ended.

Thursday, Cape Coral Police Department (CCPD) confirmed that no arrests have been made in the investigation and there are currently no leads.

As CCPD continues their search, the DeSoto County has opened their own investigation. DCSO confirmed there is a person of interest, but still no one in custody.

When Fox 4 went back to the area, hearts covered the images on the street and the stop sign was cleaned.

HeartsCoverup.jpeg

DCSO will not say if this is being investigated as a hate crime.

No one is in custody for either crime, you are asked to call police if you have any information. There is a $5,000 reward for information regarding the Chabad center.

Anti-Semitism is on the rise across the country. A new Anti-Defamation League (ADL) report released today shows anti-Semitic incidents increased by 36%

Cases of antisemitism are on the rise nationwide - A new report from the Anti-Defamation League says antisemitic incidents rose 36% across the country.

The ADL says there were 3,697 instances of assault, harassment or vandalism against the Jewish community in 2022; that's the highest number of incidents on record since the group began auditing back in 1979. Vandalism cases have risen the most, up 51% last year. Cases of harassment have risen by 29%, and assaults are up 26%.

The report shows that incidents occurred in all 50 states, as well as Washington D.C. Florida had the fourth-highest rate of antisemitic incidents in 2022 - the ADL says there were 269 reported incidents in our state.

The ADL says there were 852 incidents of antisemitic propaganda distributed from known White Nationalist groups, nearly doubling their production from 2021. You can read the full report on the Antidefamation League's website.