Sign at Jehovah's Witnesses hall vandalized

A crime scene investigator probes criminal mischief to

A crime scene investigator probes criminal mischief to a sign at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnessess at 36 Southdown Road in Huntington where damage to the sign was discovered around 12:20 p.m. (Jan. 1, 2013) (Credit: James Carbone)

Suffolk Police Hate Crime detectives are investigating vandalism to a sign at a Huntington religious hall.

A spokeswoman for police said the damage to the sign at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses at 36 Southdown Rd. was reported shortly after 10 a.m. Tuesday. Investigators suspect the damage -- in which a portion of the sign was broken off -- was done overnight.

In recent months, vandalism has been reported at another place of worship and a school in Suffolk County.

Sometime on either Oct. 23 or Oct. 24, various words and symbols, including a swastika, were spray-painted on the outside of Miller Place High School. Paint was also poured over two brick entrance signs to the high school at 15 Memorial Dr. in Miller Place.

A month earlier, the Suffolk Hate Crimes Unit was called in to investigate graffiti painted on the outside walls of the Masjid Darul Quran, a mosque at 1514 E. Third Ave. in North Bay Shore.

Police said the phrases "RIP US Ambassador" and "The War Will Rise" were scrawled on the mosque.

It was not clear Tuesday if religious bias was the motive for the damage to the sign in Huntington, and police continue to investigate the two other cases.

Suffolk Hate Crimes detectives are routinely called in to investigate any crime or vandalism committed against a religious institution, said the spokeswoman.

Crime Stoppers offers a cash reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to an arrest. Anyone with information about any of these crimes may call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 800-220-TIPS (8477). All calls will be kept confidential.

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