California cliff (illustrative)
California cliff (illustrative)iStock

Authorities in a small northern California city have launched a hate crime investigation after two pieces of public artwork were defaced with swastikas and Nazi SS bolts earlier in the month.

One of the vandalized art pieces in Ukiah, California was a mosaic by Jewish artist Elizabeth Raybee that had been recently installed on the city’s trash cans in a downtown plaza, reported MSN.

“A family member of Raybee saw the swastikas on June 23, and immediately removed them,” said Neil Davis, the city’s program administrator.

Raybee told the Jewish News of Northern California that one of the men in the mosaic is her father, a Holocaust survivor. The vandals drew a red swastika over his face.

Raybee, her daughter and her grandson wiped off the swastikas and SS bolts with baby wipes.

A few days later, swastikas were discovered on a small mural across the street from a larger mural being painted by artist Lauren Sinnott.

Sinnott told MSN that someone had used a red permanent marker to draw a swastika on the forehead of a woman in the mural painted on the side of a building.

She removed the hate symbol with rubbing alcohol.

In a written statement, Nancy Horowitz Bertsch, former president of the Mendocino County Inland Jewish Community, and Sherrie Ebyam, the current president of the community, said, “These acts of defilement are hate crimes. As leaders of our Jewish Community, we will not sit quietly and let this go by. We expect that the city of Ukiah Police Department will investigate, find, and hold accountable those responsible for these crimes.”

Ukiah is small city of approximately 16,000 people on the north coast of California.