An East Phoenix family returned home from a Fourth of July vacation to discover a message of hate spray-painted across their mailbox.
A large swastika and the word "Jews" were painted on the brick mailbox of Ari and Shoshana Simones, who live near 22nd Street and Glendale Avenue. Phoenix police are investigating the incident as a hate crime and are asking the public to contact Silent Witness (480-948-6377) if anyone has information about a suspect.
"I feel like an overwhelming feeling of sadness that people could still be this ignorant and hateful," Shoshana said.
It's unclear when the suspect sprayed the graffiti. Sometime over the weekend, a neighbor unknown to the Simones' placed a cover over the vandalism and left a note for Ari and Shoshana. A portion of the note stated, "This morning around 10, I noticed graffiti on you mailbox... I am so sorry and disgusted by this."
The couple is baffled why anyone would target them. They say their neighborhood is welcoming to Jewish residents. A Jewish synagogue, The Chabad Lubavitch Center, is located just around the corner from their house and they walk there on Saturdays with many other members of the Jewish faith who live in the neighborhood.
"Whoever did this, they don't know who we are and that we're good people," Shoshana said. "That they would try to hurt us or slur us is just ridiculous."
The Arizona chapter of the Anti-Defamation League reports there has been an uptick of anti-Semitic incidents and crimes in Arizona in 2017. The total number of incidents involving vandalism, harassment and assault in Arizona recorded by the organization was four in 2015. That number jumped to 10 in 2016. So far this year, there have been 14 anti-Semitic incidents recorded.
"ADL Arizona is deeply troubled by this Anti-Semitic incident and the rise we have witnessed to date in 2017," said ADL Regional Director Carlos Galindo-Elvira in a statement to 12 News. "We continue with determined purpose to fight all forms and acts of bigotry and hate."
In March, four people were arrested in Chandler after someone contorted a family's menorah structure into a swastika.