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Palo Alto vandalized with swastika-like graffiti in 6 locations

Six locations around Palo Alto, including two law offices, were vandalized with what police believe were meant to be swastikas on Thursday night.

The vandal or vandals drew the swastika symbol with the arms facing the wrong direction, said Lt. James Reifschneider, a spokesman for the Palo Alto Police Department. The swastikas drawn were more similar to the symbol for peace commonly associated with Buddhism and Hinduism, he said.

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"We're assuming that our vandal was misinformed and was a bit lazy in drawing his graffiti," Reifschneider said. "We believe he intended to make an anti-semitic reference as opposed to a Buddhist reference."

The swastikas appeared on signs of two law firms on Page Mill Road, as well as city signs at three intersections along Stanford Avenue, said Reifschneider. Another swastika was discovered on a grocery store in downtown Palo Alto a few miles away on Friday.

Little to no property damage was caused, Reifschneider said. The swastikas were drawn no larger than a basketball, and the black grease pen used by the vandal or vandals can be wiped off, Reifschneider said.

Though the vandalism was "of a relatively minor nature," Reifschneider said, hate-crime related graffiti is rare for the area, happening just a few times a year. It's also unusual for so many vandalism incidents to be clustered together in the same are during the same time, he said.

Police haven't arrested any suspects yet, Reifschneider said.

Twitter: @frankshyong

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