WESTON, Fla. (AP) — Three teenagers accused of spraying-painting racist and antisemitic messages multiple times over several weeks in South Florida have been arrested on felony charges.
The Broward Sheriff's Office announced the arrests Wednesday of three 16-year-old boys connected to vandalism in Weston, which is west of Fort Lauderdale near the edge of the Florida Everglades.
The arrests come amid growing incidents of antisemitism in the United States and beyond. Last month, violently antisemitic graffiti was found along a popular Maryland walking trail. And synagogues in New Jersey are among those that have faced recent threats.
According to investigators in Florida, several antisemitic and hate messages were spray-painted inside and outside the bathrooms on the golf course at Weston Hills on Oct. 5, during Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. That same day, hate messages were also found spray-painted on the playground of a nearby park.
Hate slurs and antisemitic messages were found again spray-painted on the walls of the golf course bathrooms Oct. 25, officials said. And then more racist and antisemitic messages were found at the nearby park and the entrance of a subdivision on Oct. 30.
Officials didn't say how they identified the teens as suspects, and their names of weren’t released because they’re juveniles. Two of the boys face three counts of criminal mischief, two counts of burglary of a structure and one count of public order crime prejudice, which is a hate crime enhancement, officials said. The third teen faces two counts of criminal mischief and burglary of a structure.