Tampa police arrested two teenagers in connection with a swastika that was spray-painted in the parking garage of the Bayshore Regency Condominiums on May 30.
According to an arrest report obtained by the Tampa Bay Times, 18-year-old Mark Alan Griffiths Jr. and a 17-year-old (who won't be named because he's a minor) were arrested and charged with criminal mischief, after the building’s security cameras caught the pair on June 3, between 5 and 6 a.m., spraying painting a neon green swastika, as well as “YMCA” and “SS,” which is also a Nazi symbol.
Officers also found spray paint cans in Griffiths' bedroom. TPD says they suspect the two may be connected to another vandalism act at the nearby Virage condo tower.
It’s worth noting that Bayshore Regency Condominiums is less than one mile from the Jewish Community Center Preschool of South Tampa.
An Instagram account believed to be associated with Griffiths shows him spray-painting “Mark” on a wall, along with the caption, “Just starting to redecorate my room.” Another post shows him firing an assault rifle at a gun range.
The arrests come after a study was released earlier this year by the Anti-Defamation League's Center on Extremism, stating that Florida experienced a dramatic spike in acts of anti-Semitism over the last two years. According to the study, from 2017 through 2018, the state registered 197 incidents from extremist groups, 98 of which involved acts of anti-Semitism. Tampa alone was responsible for 22 of those incidents.
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