PALM SPRINGS (CNS) - A swastika scrawled outside a Jewish attorney's law office in Palm Springs is being investigated as a hate crime, police insisted today.
``In this current allegation, an unknown suspect vandalized a business owned by a victim who is Jewish,'' according to a statement from the Palm Springs Police Department. ``In addition to the ordinary vandalism charge, the suspect may face a more severe penalty if PSPD investigators can prove the suspect was motivated by bias against the Jewish victim.''
Police said an earlier statement released by the department mistakenly described the vandalism as a ``hate incident.'' Police insisted Tuesday that ``we are actively investigating this allegation as a hate crime.''
The swastika was reported at 11:53 a.m. Saturday after attorney Bob Weinstein found the crayon-drawn symbol on a sign in front of his office at 1021 South Palm Canyon Drive.
``This is a horrible crime,'' Weinstein told The Desert Sun. ``I'm especially affected by it because they know I'm Jewish, with a name like that, and they know I'm in this building 'cause my name's on the building. My family survived the Holocaust so we're very sensitive to those kind of hate signs.''
The symbol has since been removed, and police are still trying to identify the culprit. Police said they have not been able to find any surveillance footage that captured the crime or a suspect.
Authorities said that while there were no threats of violence associated with the vandalism, such crimes cause fear in the targeted community.
``Hate crimes and threats motivated by anti-Semitism have a profound impact, not just on the victim of specific attacks, but also on the daily lives of Jewish individuals and communities. Anti-Semitic violence threatens both the physical security of Jewish communities and infuses a sense of fear and insecurity among individuals within those communities,'' police said.
Anyone with information about the vandalism was urged to call Palm Springs police at 760-323-1441.