Police in Toms River are investigating what they say is a bias incident at a township playground.
According to Ralph Stocco, Toms River Police Department spokesman, local reporters yesterday observed “Burn the Jews” scratched into playground equipment at Riverwood Park.
The anti-Semitic statement and several other “foul words” were scratched into the equipment, with many containing spelling errors, Stocco said in a release, adding that the township’s Building and Ground Department removed the phrase within hours.
“An investigation was opened, and we are trying to determine if this graffiti was done by ignorant teenagers or was of a more direct and sinister nature directed at the Jewish faith,” the spokesman said. “Either way, if a suspect is identified, they will be charged within the limits of the law.”
Stocco said that those charged with bias crimes face stiffer prosecution and penalties.
“We urge anyone, whether they are a Toms River Resident or not, to contact us directly if they observe any racist comments anywhere within our town. Any reports made elsewhere are often times not forwarded to the police department and cannot be investigated,” he said.