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Temple Jacob graffiti report forwarded to FBI

HANCOCK — Hancock police have forwarded their report on Nazi graffiti spray-painted on Temple Jacob last week to the FBI office in Marquette.

Federal hate crime laws forbid the use of force or threats against a person for several reasons, including religion.

“They’re going to try to compare it and see if there are any other instances like that that they’re tracking in the U.P.,” said Hancock Police Chief Wayne Butler.

There were 938 anti-Semitic hate crimes across the country in 2017, the most recent year for which the FBI has statistics available. That number, the highest since 2008, was up from 684 in 2016.

An unknown person or persons spray-painted swastikas and SS bolts on the Hancock synagogue sometime between Sept. 17 and noon Saturday. After being notified of the graffiti, synagogue members and volunteers from the community spent Saturday afternoon removing it.

Police will do extra patrols of the area, and also provide escorts for members who want them as they go to religious ceremonies over the next week, Butler said. The department has also reached out to Michigan Technological University, as some of its students attend the synagogue, Butler said.

The department has also reached out to Houghton police to see if footage of the incident was captured by cameras on the Portage Lake Lift Bridge, Butler said.

Built in 1912, Temple Jacob is the oldest continuously active synagogue in the Upper Peninsula.

Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact Hancock police at 482-3102.

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