PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (WHDH) - An investigation is underway in Portsmouth, NH after swastikas and other messages were documented at more than a dozen places around town, including a Jewish temple.
Portsmouth’s chief of police has addressed the incident, saying it will not be tolerated. The FBI is also now involved in the investigation.
“Stupid people doing stupid things,” Josh Belanger of Grim North Tattoo and Piercing said on Tuesday.
“Hateful people doing hateful things,” Belanger continued.
Ring video documented a person wearing a mask spray-painting swastikas on Grim North Tattoo’s windows.
Three Bridges Yoga Studio was also among the locations hit with the hateful messages.
Owner Stephanie Paolini said she is sickened.
“I’m disgusted, I’m saddened,” she said. “This just isn’t Portsmouth. It just seems wildly out of character for what goes on here.”
Rabbi Kaya Stern-Kaufman from Temple Israel said she was brought “to a very deep state of grief” after Temple Israel was spray-painted.
She continued, saying the act has triggered an outpouring of love, compassion and support within the Portsmouth community.
“I’ve certainly experienced it up to this time, but even more so now,” she said.
Chief of Police Mark Newport said officials aren’t sure if this was the act of one person or multiple people.
Whoever is responsible, Newport said police have made this investigation their top priority.
“We do not tolerate that here in Portsmouth,” he said in a message aimed at the person or people responsible. “We will work to find you and prosecute you and bring the full effects of the law in New Hampshire against you.”
Newport said Tuesday afternoon that 14 places had been hit in this incident, though the number could be higher.
Police have asked for the public’s help, urging anyone in the downtown area with surveillance cameras to check their recordings for anything that could help the police investigation.
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