Suffolk police Hate Crime Unit detectives arrested and charged a homeless...

Suffolk police Hate Crime Unit detectives arrested and charged a homeless man Wednesday for allegedly drawing hateful graffiti, including a swastika, in Port Jefferson Station.   Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

A homeless man was arrested Wednesday on harassment and graffiti charges after drawing a swastika and other hateful images on a building and a kiosk in Port Jefferson Station, police said.

Hate crimes unit detectives took Carl Vario, 51, into custody at 1:50 p.m "after an investigation," police said in a news release.

Vario faces two counts of aggravated harassment in the first-degree and two counts of making graffiti, according to police.

At 8 a.m. Friday, police said, the swastika and other hateful graffiti were discovered on a building at 518 Route 112. At noon Saturday, similar images were found on a kiosk near Greenway Trail, police said.

Vario is scheduled to be arraigned March 29 at First District Court in Central Islip.

The allegations follow other recent cases where Long Island police investigated reports of hateful graffiti.

In Shirley, swastikas were sprayed on two properties in the hamlet on Nov. 29, police said.

In Nassau County, a Floral Park man was arrested Nov. 23 for writing a derogatory word on a window of a village shop owned by Muslims, police said. The offense was considered a hate crime because the shop owner "is of Arabic and Muslim descent," according to charging documents.

Last year, 870 cases of racist, antisemitic or other hateful graffiti were reported in New York State, compared to 616 in 2020, according to the Anti-Defamation League in a report this month. Nationally, 4,851 such cases were reported in the U.S., the report said. That was down from 5,125 cases in 2020.

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