PORTSMOUTH — Police have surveillance video of the person who they believe is responsible for drawing a swastika, a Star of David and a pentagram on the sidewalk outside The District restaurant on Congress Street.
Chief Robert Merner said the man in the video is the only person seen with chalk and writing in the location where the symbols were discovered.
The male appears to be white and wearing a jacket, camouflage pants and sneakers. He is seen with a female who is wearing a jacket with the hood up and a backpack.
The graffiti was discovered Tuesday morning and cleaned up by members of the Public Works Department minutes after police alerted them to the situation.
Because the suspect used chalk for the drawings instead of paint, police will not be pressing charges because no permanent damage was done, they said.
Merner said they do not consider the swastika graffiti a hate crime because it was not directed at anybody in particular. If it had been placed on a home or business that would be a different matter, the chief said.
The investigation continues with police seeking the public’s help in finding the perpetrator to determine if that individual holds any ill intent toward the business owners in the Vaughan Mall area, Merner said.
The chief said that when major tragedies occur — whether it be the Boston Marathon bombings or September 11 — police are often questioned as to why they missed the signs perpetrators displayed prior to the deadly event.
“It’s incumbent on police to do investigations into persons that may have ill intent for members of our community,” Merner said. “One of the first signs of something, of a hate crime being perpetrated or intended to be perpetrated, is this graffiti or online activity or something like that.”
Anyone with information about this case can call police at 603-427-1500, or leave an anonymous tip by calling Seacoast Crime Stoppers at 603-431-1199.