FORT EDWARD, N.Y. – Two teens were arrested and charged in connection to racist and anti-Semitic graffiti that was found throughout the village of Whitehall.
Whitehall residents found racist remarks and anti-Semitic symbols spray painted on buildings and signs Sunday. Now two suspects are being held at the Washington County Jail.
The two accused 17-year-olds were charged with Criminal Mischief, but if investigators determine the graffiti was a hate crime, they could be facing more serious charges.
Both teens appeared in court Wednesday, but one of them said he did not think the messages were offensive. District Attorney Anthony Jordan, however, found the messages to be concerning.
“I think everyone should be concerned,” he said. “They’re offensive. They’re destructive of property.”
Jordan said he asked the judge to set bail at $15,000 cash and $30,000 bond.
“I know Whitehall is greatly concerned with what had occurred,” he said.
One of the teens is listed as an administrator of a Facebook group known as New York Nazi Division. Jordan said community members raised concerns over various posts on the page.
“Angry seeming attitude contained in the brief Facebook posts that I’ve seen,” Jordan said. “That makes for very grave concerns.”
The DA said this wasn’t the first hateful instance police have looked into recently.
“I know that this isn’t an isolated incident,” he said. “Investigations are ongoing in the village of Whitehall, including additional conduct similar to what they’re being arraigned on today.”
He said more charges could be added if an investigation determines the graffiti was a hate crime targeting someone.
“Is this part of a larger operation? Is this an isolated incident?” he asked. “Those will all be things we look to unearth as we continue the investigation.”
While the Facebook page displays anti-Semitic posts, the teen who operates it said he’s not a Nazi.