Hate Crimes unit investigating after Bellerose cars tagged with swastikas


| mchan@queenscourier.com |

THE COURIER/Photos by Melissa Chan
THE COURIER/Photos by Melissa Chan

At least 14 cars in Bellerose were marked with graffiti, including half that were hit with swastikas.

Bellerose residents whose cars were vandalized with graffiti were able to wash off the spray paint — but not the hateful message it left behind.

Fourteen cars in the quiet residential area were marked up during an early morning graffiti spree on October 11, police said.

Silver-painted swastikas were found on half of the vehicles around 87th Avenue and 256th Street, according to police. Residents said other cars were tagged with lines and random scribbles.

“I was very surprised,” said Devinder Chahal, whose white BMW was vandalized. “We saw all the other cars were painted. It’s a little scary.”

Chahal said she woke up at 5:30 a.m. to find four of her family’s cars, including her husband’s yellow city cab, sprawled along the sides and on the hoods with graffiti.

They were mostly squiggles, she said, but many down the street were hit with the Nazi symbol.

“Right now, the way it looks, it could be a hate crime,” Chahal said. “We’re concerned about the future. Today, they painted the cars. Tomorrow, it could be anything.”

Helicopters circled above the neighborhood Friday as law enforcement officials went up and down the roped off streets gathering evidence off cars.

“This has never happened before,” said Parveen Kumar, another victim of the vandalism. “I don’t know what happened.”

Chahal said the stubborn paint came off after “a lot of work,” following a full day’s investigation.

It was unclear if more than one person was suspected of the crimes. An investigation by the NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force is ongoing, a police spokesperson said.

“This is a despicable act of vandalism,” said State Senator Tony Avella, “and those responsible for this heinous crime should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, including being possibly charged with a hate crime.”

Resident Daljit Kaur said she feared the culprit — or multiple offenders — could be capable of worse.

“Who knows what else they’ll do? It’s dangerous,” she said.

 

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