A Jewish couple said they discovered a swastika on their backdoor Thursday evening, after they returned home from a Rosh Hashanah ceremony.
Ronald Gale and his fiancee, Traci Kendrick left for the event at Freedom Park around 5 p.m. and returned to their southwest Charlotte home shortly after 6. While they were gone, someone went into their backyard and used a marker to draw a swastika and write “f--- you” on their door, Gale said.
The incident left Kendrick feeling sick Friday morning, Gale said.
“There’s a slight fear factor, however, it’s more about the anger,” he said. “We feel violated. This person had the audacity to come into our gated backdoor area to write on our door.”
Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish new year and marks the start of the High Holy Days for Jews. These 10 days of repentance and introspection culminates with Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, which starts at sundown Sept. 29.
This isn’t the first time the couple has had antisemitic vandalism directed toward them. Last year, Gale said someone spray painted a large swastika in the street with a stick pointing toward their house on Yom Kippur. Thursday’s graffiti stood out because the swastika wasn’t even drawn properly, Gale said.
“You don’t need to be educated to have hate in your heart,” he said. “That’s what this proves.”
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police are investigating the incident and are in touch with federal officials to determine if the incident is a hate crime, police spokesman Rob Tufano said.
Police have increased patrols in and around the community, and officers have been told to conduct zone checks around synagogues in the city. There is a $1,000 reward for information in the case, Tufano said.
The couple intends on pressing charges if they find out who drew the swastika. The incident is a sign that hate groups have been emboldened in recent times, Gale said.
“It just absolutely disgusts me that hate is thriving in this country the way it is. It’s disheartening,” he said. “You see so much of it these days and it’s all over, whether it’s in the NFL ...or it’s in the streets of Charlottesville, or right here on my backdoor in Steele Creek.”
LaVendrick Smith; 704-358-5101; @LaVendrickS