Western New Jersey

Arrest could come soon in N.J. swastika vandalism case

Police have person of interest in N.J. swastika vandalism case

WEST AMWELL TWP., N.J. - West Amwell Township, Hunterdon County, New Jersey is in shock after someone vandalized a well-known shopping center with swastikas.

Police said they plan to meet with a person of interest in the case on either Monday or Tuesday.

The attempt to tear the community apart with the vandalism is doing just the opposite.

"It was kind of overwhelming to see that in this day and time," said William Gibbs, owner of Chicken Dog Cafe, located in the Mount Airy Shopping Village.

"You get thrown off by something like that. You don't expect it to be in this town," add Jordan Brennan, owner of Downtown Performing Arts Center, another business in the strip mall.

There is more than just a line of black spray paint on three buildings at the Mt. Airy Shopping Village on Route 179.

Police say on Thursday morning a person spray painted swastikas, and curse words as well.

"My family died in the Holocaust," added Fran Affleck, a customer at Chicken Dog Cafe. "My best friend's father is a survivor of Auschwitz. To come up here in 2014. This is not 1940. To see this desecrated like this, this is a horrific act."

Owners of the strip mall are covering up the vandalism and say they hope police catch the person responsible.

"It's a shame, never should have happened," said Thomas Hood, as crews painted over the paint. "Somebody is not in their right mind when they are doing stuff like this."

Hood says he caught the whole thing on surveillance video.

Investigators are now looking at that video and tell us there may be an arrest soon.

"We've developed a person of interest that we anticipate speaking to," said Captain Stephen Bartzak, police captain for the West Amwell Township Police Department.

"I don't think nor do I hope it was targeted directly at us or any of the businesses here," said Brennan.

There is a silver lining in this dark cloud.

Business owners say an act meant to break bonds is bringing a community closer together.

"We were here three hours after closing because people were still coming and just saying I'm sorry, their sympathy, and compassion and saying it is not something we do," said Gibbs.

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