Swastikas spray-painted on cars lead to hate-crime probe in Montreal

Montreal police are looking into a possible hate crime after swastikas were spray-painted on cars in Montreal's Notre-Dame-de-Grâce neighbourhood. A resident says an envelope with a bullet inside was also left on one of the windshields.

4 vehicles vandalized in parking garage in NDG neighbourhood on Côte-Saint-Luc Road

Swastikas were spray-painted on several cars in the parking garage of a Montreal apartment building late Monday. (Charles Contant/CBC)

Montreal police are looking into a possible hate crime after swastikas were spray-painted on four cars in an apartment building's parking garage in Montreal's Notre-Dame-de-Grâce neighbourhood.

"There were four cars with swastikas on them, and five cars with envelopes on them, and on the white envelopes there were swastikas on them," said Daniel, a resident in the building whose car was damaged. The CBC has agreed not to reveal his last name.

It just left me speechless.— Daniel, resident whose car was damaged

"The swastikas were huge. They covered pretty much the majority of the hood," Daniel said, adding that his neighbour's car had a broken windshield and a pick axe lying next to it.

"I've lived in Montreal my whole life … I've never seen this before first-hand, never been a victim of it and just to have it happen literally in your own home, it just left me speechless," Daniel told CBC Radio One's Homerun host Sue Smith.

Overnight, four cars outside of a NDG apartment building were spray painted with swastikas. Daniel is the owner of one of the vandalized cars, and he says he's shocked and scared by what happened.

Another resident of the building, who spoke to CBC News on the condition of anonymity for safety reasons, said that one of the envelopes had a bullet inside along with a threatening note.

The resident said police collected the remaining envelopes as evidence before they were opened.

"I'm just shocked. This is a hate crime and you never expect it to happen in your community. NDG's a great community, the people in the building are great," the man said.

Police investigation

​Const. Anie Lemieux said police received a call around 10:20 p.m. ET Monday reporting damage to cars in a garage on Côte-Saint-Luc Road near Hampton Avenue.

"Elements that were taken from the scene by investigators lead them to believe that this could be a hate crime," Lemieux said. 

"Investigators are still looking for information, and trying to understand why this happened in the garage."

Lemieux said anyone who may have seen something suspicious should contact police.

'Shock and disgust'

B'Nai Brith Canada said Tuesday that the incident is extremely serious and goes beyond vandalism.

"You're not dealing with a bunch of individuals who had a can of spray paint and decided, 'Why not? We'll have some fun.' These guys or girls planned this. They specifically set out with bullets in their pockets, with envelopes, with notes and obviously with spray paint," said Steven Slimovitch, national legal counsel for B'nai Brith Canada.

"Our reaction is one of shock, one of disgust and one of fear.… When you go out and purchase bullets and take the time to write a death message, this is extremely serious."

While the police investigation continues, residents in the building are asking for extra security measures, such as surveillance cameras, to be put in place.


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