Swastikas spray painted on 17 trees in Penfield park; deputies investigating

Monroe County Sheriff's deputies are investigating vandalism at a park in Penfield after receiving a report of swastikas being spray painted on trees. (WHAM photo)

Penfield, N.Y. (WHAM) - Monroe County Sheriff's deputies are investigating vandalism at a park in Penfield after receiving a report of swastikas being spray painted on trees.

Deputies said a total of 17 trees had swastikas painted on them at Harris Whalen Park.

It's a trail that sits feet away from Cindy Defalco's backyard. “We love this neighborhood," she says. "We love having the woods right behind our house.”

The Harris Whalen trail is a popular place to walk with her 10-year-old granddaughter, but on Friday she discovered something disturbing: Swastikas - seventeen of them, spray-painted all over the trees.

“Oh it was very disappointing and disgusting," she says. “It felt like a real invasion.”

It was a startling sight for Delfalco and disturbing spree of vandalism according to Town Supervisor Tony LaFountain. “That’s not something you expect in Penfield," he tells 13WHAM.

He says this activity won't be tolerated and the town intends to prosecute whoever did it to the fullest. “It’s very unfortunate. It has no place in our town, it has no place in our county, it has no place in our country," said LaFountain.

The Monroe County Sheriff's Office says it will increase patrols in the area as deputies investigate. For now, it's being treated as criminal mischief, but that could be upgraded to a hate crime depending on what is uncovered.

In the meantime, Defalco won't look at the trees just beyond her backyard quite the same way.

“It’s hitting too close to home," she says. “To having something that hateful in the woods where children are walking, people are around wanting to relax and have a good time. It’s just disgusting.”

Authorities have already removed the graffiti from the trees. Another item of note - this is not the first time graffiti of this nature has appeared on this trail. A similar incident occurred last year. No suspects have been determined and there are no leads in the case, according to investigators.

Deputies said the incident remains under investigation.

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