LACONIA, N.H. —
Investigators say hateful messages found spray-painted in a New Hampshire community are particularly concerning because they targeted a specific person.
Laconia police are investigating racist and antisemitic graffiti found at the former Laconia State School. The city manager called it appalling, especially because it called out a specific member of Laconia's Jewish community.
Police were notified on Sunday about the hateful messages and symbols that were spraypainted on an abandoned building and water tower at the former school.
The building has been closed for decades, but the grounds are still maintained by the state and remain a hotspot for people to go for a walk or run.
"It's very remote, but it is used," said city manager Kirk Beattie. "Trails run through there. Roads run through there. It's not uncommon for people to be out there running and walking and just enjoying nature."
Beattie said such vandalism is not new to the community, saying similar graffiti was found in the city last year. But he said this time, the messages were taken to another level.
"The difference this time now is what was actually written on there was calling out a member of the Laconia Jewish community, as well as what appeared to be links that would draw someone to the types of sites that would promote this type of activity," he said.
The police and city said they are taking the vandalism seriously, adding that such messages don't reflect the feelings of the community.
"This is not going to be tolerated in Laconia," Beattie said. "We are not going to allow this."
Beattie said it's still far too early in the investigation to tell if the person behind the graffiti was a local or part of a larger hate group.
"We will work with (police) very hard, so we can try to figure out who did this and prosecute them when we get to that point," Beattie said.
The attorney general's office and the FBI are assisting in the investigation.