By Sam Catanzaro
Police have arrested a man suspected of spray-painting anti-semitic graffiti at local elementary schools.
On Friday, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) took into custody Israel Herrera Perez, 44, on suspicion of felony vandalism for allegedly vandalizing three schools in the Los Angeles area and spray painting over a dozen cars. Perez was held on $120,000 bail, according to the LAPD.
“Investigators were also able to connect Perez to similar acts of vandalism in the Calabasas Community in Los Angeles County,” the LAPD wrote in a press release. “The investigation is ongoing and no additional suspect(s) have been identified at this time.”
Investigators have not determined a motive behind the vandalism spree.
On Wednesday, the LAPD released a video of an individual believed to have sprayed graffiti throughout the Westside between Saturday and Monday.
According to the LAPD, “numerous” vehicles were spray-painted with graffiti between 6 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. Sunday in the Beverlywood and Pico- Robertson areas.
At Westwood Charter, located at 2050 Selby Avenue, on Tuesday staff discovered paint that was spilled appearing to form a swastika, as described in a message sent to parents and posted on Twitter.
“Today we found graffiti on the playground that included paint spilled in different places around campus, including one design that appeared to form a swastika,” reads the message from Westwood Charter Principal Kathy Flores. “This is an unfortunate act of vandalism as we have many multicultural events planned for our students this week.”
According to Flores, Westwood Charter immediately called law enforcement who responded to the school and took a police report. The graffiti was removed before students were in the area.
Also on Tuesday, anti-Semitic graffiti was found at the Bel Air campus of American Jewish University (AJU) and likely Milken Community High School.
Phrases and images were tagged on AJU’s sign on Mulholland Drive and also across the street on a retaining wall on school property, according to Jeffrey Herbst, the AJU’s president.
“Time to pay” was one phrase, according to Herbst, while something close to “Time to do the time” was the other phrase.
While the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) did not confirm the third school to be tagged, they did say that two schools on the 1500 block of Mulholland Drive had been vandalized. Milken Community High School, a private Jewish high school and middle school, is less than a mile from AJU on Mulholland Drive.