Swastikas painted at playground in Waterford

Oct. 18—WATERFORD — Police are investigating the discovery of swastikas painted on playground equipment in town, vandalism that was condemned as "acts of cowardice and bigotry," by First Selectman Rob Brule.

The anti-Semitic graffiti was found Tuesday evening at Leary Park off Vauxhall Street Extension and has since been removed by town staff.

"We are saddened and angered to hear of the ugly anti-Semitic vandalism that appeared on our local playground," Brule said in a statement. "The swastika is a symbol of hate and violence and has no place in any community, and we are outraged that it has emerged here, in our community, and on a playground. The symbols of anti-Semitism are threatening and painful."

Brule said the incident is evidence "that no community, even one as welcoming as Waterford, is immune to hatred."

"We must remain ever vigilant in denouncing these acts and in supporting efforts to combat bigotry and hatred. In Waterford, we strive to be an inclusive community and to educate and advocate with others towards this important goal. We must be tireless in our efforts to support each other within our community that we are all fortunate enough to call home," Brule said.

The graffiti comes following a Oct. 7 terror attack on Israel civilians by the Palestinian militant group Hamas that has led to Israel's bombing of Gaza.

Anyone with information or who may have been in the playground area in the last 48 hours and witnessed suspicious activity is asked to contact Waterford Police Lt. David Ferland at (860) 442-9451, ext. 2328.

Individuals who identify offensive messages should contact the police department immediately to report it and not remove it until police can suitably document it. Police or town staff will remove it after it has been documented.