MONTREAL — Police officers were called to the scene of an underground parking garage on the corner of Cote-St-Luc Road and Hampton late Monday night.
Officers found five cars with spray-painted reversed swastikas on the hood, one with a broken windshield with a hatchet next to it, and several envelopes containing death threats.
“Well, there was a bullet in the envelopes, each envelope had a note saying, ‘You’re going to get one next in your head,'” said Sandra Benaim, who owns one of the five targeted vehicles.
Police are investigating the incident and told Global News it was being treated as a hate crime.
“It is preoccupying,” said officer Adbdullah Emran.
“We need to let the investigation determine whether it’s a real case of a hate crime or if it’s young kids going into a garage and committing vandalism.”
Investigators spent much of the day searching for clues and they’re hoping a surveillance camera somewhere in the vicinity may have captured an image of the suspects.
The apartment building is in a predominantly Jewish neighbourhood.
However, some were reluctant to jump to conclusions.
“I’m Jewish and three of the five cars that were vandalized are Jewish, so we can’t take it personally,” suggested Benaim.
But at least one Jewish rights group said it considers it a calculated attack on Montreal’s Jewish Community.
“This doesn’t smell like a group of teenage vandals,” insisted Rabbi Reuben Poupko from the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs.
“In this scenario, when you have the swastika accompanied by threatening notes, a bullet, a hatchet, in a Jewish area, the common-sense conclusion is that this is a targeted threat to a specific community.”
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Back in the building, residents were looking for answers and hoping the crime was just a tasteless prank.
“I’m hoping with everything else going on in the world now, it’s nothing more serious than just some punks!”