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A teenager was arrested for allegedly turning a small part of Midwood into a swastika-laden horror show this Halloween weekend.
Residents living near the corner of East 18th Street and Avenue J woke up the morning of All Hallow’s Eve to find that someone had left swastikas, as well as some other inflammatory remarks -- most of which were misspelled -- on their car windows in magic marker.
Responding officers determined in the end that two synagogues, two homes and eight cars were left defamed by the same midnight scrawler.
In one of the incidents, the vandal descended on Mezivta Bias Aron Vertsky synagogue at 1245 East 18th Street, leaving behind two swastikas, and the phrases “Fuch the Jews” and “Jesus Rules” -- thereby managing to leave Jewish residents with horrific memories of the Holocaust and put Christians in a bad light in one fell swoop.
In another incident, an Orthodox resident came out to his car to see a swastika drawn on the passenger side window. On the back passenger side window were the words “Fwk Jews.”
But in the end the only one who was truly left in a bad light was Nikita Pertsev, the teen who allegedly ruined everyone’s morning.
Cops charge that Pertsev, a resident of Ocean Avenue near Avenue M, was apprehended just five hours after the swastika spree was first reported to investigators from the 70th Precinct.
While NYPD Hate Crimes investigators began cataloging the vandalism, information received during a canvass of a nearby building led them to Pertsev, who was charged with 14 counts of criminal mischief and two counts of aggravated harassment as a hate crime. If convicted, the teen will be facing a higher prison sentence than usual because of the hate crime statute, officials said.
Investigators said that Pertsev was not affiliated with any anti-Semitic groups, nor had he been accused of this type of crime before.
Cops said that vandalized residents were told about every step of the investigation, as well as the arrest.
While obviously disturbed by what had happened, the outrage that’s usually paired with this activity was rather subdued.
“We had a strong presence out there, letting everyone know that we were on top what had happened,” said one police source, who added that very few anti-Semitic incidents had taken place in Midwood in recent years. Not all of the victims in last weekend’s vandalism were Jewish, the source said.
“I think they [the community] realized that they weren’t being specifically targeted and that this was a guy just going down the street,” the source said. “It was just a stupid kid doing a stupid thing.”
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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