The New York Police Department’s Hate Crimes Task Force has declared the vandalism of some 200 graves at Washington Cemetery in Brooklyn last weekend a bias crime, as local elected officials raised the reward for information to $10,000. The damage, the second such attack in two weeks, took place between Friday night and Sunday morning and included the toppling and spray-painting of headstones.
A police source initially said the graffiti was not anti-Semitic. The 150-year-old cemetery, which abuts the heavily Jewish Midwood section and Bensonhurst is the largest Jewish resting place in Brooklyn.
A group of local public officials have pooled $10,000 in reward money for information leading to arrests in the vandalism, urging tips to be directed to the 66th Precinct.
“I offered my original one thousand dollar reward because the desecration of any cemetery is unacceptable,"said Councilman David Greenfield, who represents nearby Borough Park and Midwood, . "However, now that I have learned that this desecration was motivated by hatred, I am doubling my reward. I am grateful to Councilman Mike Nelson, Assemblyman Dov Hikind and various leaders in the Russian and Jewish communities, including John Lisyanskiy, who have made generous contributions toward increasing the reward to the new $10,000 total."
The cemetery, which is located a short distance from a public high school, is reportedly considering adding security cameras.