Police find swastikas, fire after burglary

Arson suspected in fire, burglary at Little Leapers Child Care Center in Fort Lauderdale

Published On: Feb 25 2013 11:02:11 AM EST   Updated On: Feb 25 2013 05:33:26 PM EST
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -

Police are looking for whoever burglarized a business, set fire to it, and painted three swastikas on its walls.

The incident happened at Little Leapers Child Care Center at 1300 Riverland Road in Fort Lauderdale about 3:22 a.m. Sunday.

When police arrived, they found a door to the business was open and there was a fire burning inside the building.

Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue arrived and extinguished the fire, which was located in the kitchen area.

Investigators believe someone forced his way into the center, stole several electronics, and used an accelerant to start the fire.

On the outside of the child care center, investigators found three red, freshly painted swastikas. The center also serves as a sanctuary for the Bethel Worship Center, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

Yael Hershfield, the ADL interim regional director, issued a statement Monday, saying: “This heinous incident is unacceptable, and we ask that the entire community – leaders and residents – stand shoulder to shoulder to publicly condemn this potentially bias-motivated crime targeting the center. It is imperative that the community sends a clear message that we will not tolerate such cowardly and un-American bigotry. Attacks of this nature threaten to intimidate and harass entire communities. This is a horrific reminder that hatred remains a current event here in our backyard.”

Anyone with information on this case is asked to call the Fort Lauderdale Police Department at 954-828-5513 or Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS.