Police looking for thugs who painted Esperance swastikas


By David Avitabile

Police are searching for whoever is responsible for painting seven swastikas on various signs, businesses, and a church through the Village of Esperance.
The seven swastikas were discovered on the signs, businesses, and the church early Sunday morning, according to village Mayor Charles Johnston. The swastikas were drawn with green aerosol paint.
The symbols were quickly cleaned off or covered up, the Mayor noted.
The swastikas were painted on a traffic sign on Route 20, on two traffic signs on side streets, a Main Street business, in the park on upper Church Street, and a larger one on the side of the Esperance Presbyterian Church on Church Street.
The paint was cleaned off the signs on Sunday and a large sign that reads, "Love Not Hate" was placed over the swastikas on the stone church.
Cardboard was placed over the sign painted on the business.
The State Police are conducting the investigation and have had a large presence in the village since the graffiti was discovered, the Mayor added.
There has been a lot of talk about the vandalism in the village since it was discovered, but no arrest has been made as of Tuesday morning.
Mayor Johnston is confident that the guilty party or parties will be identified.
"You can't do anything here without anyone knowing about it. It will come out." Thus far, "I haven't heard anything yet."
He noted that members of the church have posted a $500 reward for information leading to a conviction.
The vandalism was "definitely walk by," according to the Mayor, who noted that none of the signs were high off the ground.
The Mayor was note sure of the intent of the vandalism and is not sure it is a hate crime.
Kids are taught in school not to use the swastika in public, so it definitely would get attention, Mayor Johnston noted.
Vandalism is rare in the small village, he noted.
A few kids broke a picnic table in the park, but they were arrested and paid for a new table and also did community service, the Mayor said.