BANGOR, Maine — A vandal or vandals spray painted offensive graffiti on the front staircases and pillars of two Bangor synagogues on York Street early Friday night.

Both Beth Israel Synagogue and Beth Abraham Synagogue were defaced sometime after 7 p.m., according to Bangor police.

The graffiti included swastikas — with the arms bent clockwise to represent Nazi or anti-Semitic swastikas — and an upside-down cross with the numbers 6 6 6 positioned at the top and sides.

Bangor police Sgt. James Buckley said someone called from Beth Abraham at 7:30 p.m. Friday to report finding the vandalism.

“He said he was out of the area for 20 minutes, so sometime between 7 and 7:20 p.m. is when we think it happened,” Buckley said.

Buckley said graffiti and incidents of vandalism have been on the rise over the last week or so.

“I believe it has,” Buckley said. “We’ve had a lot of tagging the last few weeks.

“Over the last few days, we had a graffiti complaint at 615 Broadway on September 20 and and on Boyd Street at the Strickland House the very next day.”

The Bangor City Council has recently held discussions on graffiti and ways to limit instances and penalize offenders, also known as “taggers.”

“I think it’s disgusting,” said Bangor City Councilor Charlie Longo, who lives nearby the synagogues at The Terraces apartment complex. “I think it’s despicable that people spend their time this way. We need to hold these people accountable for this kind of vandalism.”

“We’re looking at revisiting the topic in a couple months,” he added. “City Solicitor Norm Heitmann is working on some ordinance language to penalize offenders, and we’re also looking at other ways to prohibit or punish this kind of stuff without ordinances.”

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