Was Quince Orchard HS vandalism a prank, or a hate crime?

- Montgomery County police are now investigating whether a case of vandalism at Quince Orchard High School was a hate crime or a prank.

The vandal used chemicals to burn images of male genitalia and a swastika into the high school’s football field. When administrators discovered the vandalism on October 13, it was unclear what the symbols were, but as the chemicals developed the images became clearer.

The vandalism happened right before the school's homecoming game.  Some think this could have been intended as a prank, but police say when a hate symbol like a swastika is used, it's elevated to a more serious level.

The incident has upset some members of the community, including Meredith Weisel with the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington. Weisel says that if the vandal turns out to be a minor, such as a student, she suggests they take a trip to the Holocaust Museum with the family of a survivor.

Although it is a unique approach, the council says they don’t want to breed more hate. Instead, they would rather educate people.

A picture that the Montgomery County Police Department released showing the suspect’s car is a little hard to make out, but police hope it will lead to an arrest. The car is a dark, four-door sedan, and it appears one of the vehicle's front headlights was misaligned.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact the Montgomery County Police Department. 

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