Police make arrest after swastikas, hateful messages sprayed on Md. synagogue

Someone sprayed graffiti on a Gaithersburg synagogue, including swastikas and hateful messages.

Rabbi Jacob Blumenthal got a call Tuesday morning about vandalism at his Shaare Torah synagogue. Security cameras caught the suspect in action between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. Police are looking for at least one man who wore a white mask.

"Anytime you see a symbol like a swastika on a synagogue building, it's already a wake-up call. It's already sad," said Rabbi Blumenthal.

Many in the congregation took off work Tuesday to help clean off the graffiti.

"The first thing we did is we took a look at the most graphic and visible graffiti and wanted to make sure we came up with a plan to get it out of sight of the children who come in this building all the time. One person ran to Lowe's to get graffiti remover. One person ran to go get a power washer," said Lew Fontek, a board member at Shaare Torah.

The crime happened during Passover and next week is Holocaust Remembrance Day. Police have not ruled out a connection, but they say it is more likely a coincidence.

Hundreds came together Tuesday night to discuss the vandalism and they reinforced how united the congregation is despite the troubling hate crime.

"Actually, it brings us together," said David Berlinger. "You could try to tear us down by making bad remarks about us or desecrating a synagogue. But it actually brings us together as a community."

Anyone with information is asked to call police at 301-330-4471.