Police make progress in anti-Semitic vandalism case

November 14, 2011 3:29:18 PM PST
The people of Midwood wanted this case solved as soon as possible, and it looks like progress is being made by police.

Late Monday afternoon as patrol cars cruised Ocean Parkway, Eyewitness News has learned that detectives are making progress.

"We are very optimistic that we can catch these people, and when we do, we are going to prosecute them with enhanced penalties because a hate crime raises the amount of time you can go to jail. So, it's a very active investigation and I'm confident that we're going to have a resolution," Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hines said.

The flaming cars set an entire community on edge. The hateful graffiti left little doubt about the motive.

Investigators believe that several vandals were involved. Fingerprints and DNA recovered from beer bottles found at the scene could help identify them.

"People out everywhere are very concerned, I have never seen this kind of concern in terms of an anti-Semitic incident," New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind said.

"I've been living here for 35 years and I've never seen anything like this," said Carmen Mejia, a Midwood resident.

Mejia is Puerto Rican and says she is just as concerned as anyone else.

But for Holocaust survivors the image of the burning cars is profoundly painful.

"They killed my father, my mother, three sisters, aunts and uncles, and we all went to Auschwitz," said Hymie Steinmetz, a Midwood resident. Hymie Steinmetz lives just down the street.

"It brings back memories of what the Nazis did. I tried to erase my memory of what I went through," Steinmetz said.