☕Stickers and red paint were on the sign of the Starbucks in Glen Rock

☕The mayor of Glen Rock removed the stickers

☕Glen Rock police are investigating as a hate crime

GLEN ROCK – Visitors to a New Jersey Starbucks were greeted by stickers about the Israel-Hamas conflict Monday morning.

Glen Rock police chief Dean Ackermann said the red paint was splashed over the sign of the coffee shop on Rock Road with the stickers placed on the paint.

"Reported bias incidents in New Jersey have quadrupled in recent years, and they keep rising. Sadly, while we would like to think otherwise, Glen Rock is not immune. This should be completely unacceptable to all of us. It is certainly unacceptable to the members of the Glen Rock Police Department," Ackermann said in a statement.

The vandalism is being investigated as a hate crime. The chief believes the vandalism took place in the early hours before the store opened.

Bias crime increased in New Jersey by 41% in 2023 over 2022 with 2,477 reports of bias crime through November, according to State Police records.

"Cowardly act"

Glen Rock Mayor Kristine Morieko on her Facebook page said she and a member of the Glen Rock Jewish Center removed the stickers. Two covers were placed over the sign until the paint can be removed.

"For 135 days our community has felt pain like no other, and I ask that you take the time to reach out to your Jewish friends and let them know they are seen, heard and supported," the mayor wrote on her Facebook page, calling it a "cowardly act."

The 135 days refers to the days since Oct. 7 when Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel killing 1,200 men, women and children. 134 people were also taken hostage by Hamas.  Israel has pounded the Gaza Strip daily since with 29,000 Palestinians killed, according to the territory’s Health Ministry.

U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J,.5th District, called the graffiti disgusting.

"Since Oct. 7, there have been more than 3,200 antisemitic incidents across our nation according to the ADL. For each and every instance, we must all speak out as one voice against the rise of hate here in Jersey and across the nation," Gottheimer wrote on his Facebook page.

(Includes material copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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