Montgomery County police discovered vandalism on four residential properties in Bethesda Feb. 17, including three houses and a police K-9 vehicle, according to a police statement.
The vandalism occurred in the 6700 block of Melody Lane, the 8200 block of Wahly Dr. and the intersection of Springer Rd. and Thoreau Dr. in the Woodhaven neighborhood just behind Pyle Middle School.
“Generally speaking, this is a quiet neighborhood,” said MC police officer and spokesperson Britta Thomas. “So this is not a common occurrence.”
Police are searching for suspects in the crime, which occurred overnight Feb. 16, they said. Police initially responded to one report of vandalism with profanity and explicit images on a rocking chair and a private vehicle. Officers subsequently found a police vehicle with black spray print on all sides, including anti-gay slurs, profanity, swastikas and explicit images, according to the statement.
Later that morning, two other residents reported damage done on their property, including a spray-painted light post and a landscaping rock vandalized with a swastika, Thomas said.
There have been no recent developments in the investigation and there is no known motive, Thomas said. But the incident could be classified as a hate crime, she said.
“When we have graphic pictures, hate crime-related items painted on a car or anti-gay comments, we have to wonder if perhaps that may be a motivation,” she said. “But we don’t know for sure yet if that was in fact the case or if this was just debauchery by some juveniles.”
Police are asking for the public’s assistance with the investigation of the crimes. Anyone with information should contact the 2nd District Investigative Section at 301-657-0112 or email BISTips@montgomerycountymd.gov.
Due to the possibility of hate crime in the incident, a reward is being offered, Thomas said. A reward of up to $2,000 is available for information that leads to the arrest of individuals responsible for the crime.
“We just ask that people keep their eyes open for any suspicious people, vehicles or situations and make sure they contact the police and let us know about it,” Thomas said.
Click here to see a picture of the vandalized car. Warning: graphic language.