BOONE, N.C. (WGHP) — Police are continuing to investigate a swastika flag found at a North Carolina temple, and the town is responding to denounce antisemitism.
On Feb. 15, at Temple of the High Country in Boone, a man was reported to be waving an antisemitic flag with a swastika on it. When police arrived on the scene, the person had left but the flag was recovered.
Surveillance footage from a nearby business shows a potential suspect and suspect vehicle, Boone police shared on Facebook on Monday, showing a masked man and a silver-colored SUV.
On Wednesday, Boone Police Department released more information, saying “we have been in contact with the State Bureau of Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and our District Attorney from the early stages of our investigation to share information and discuss the case. If we are able to identify the suspect, we will certainly charge any applicable crimes that are established during the course of our investigation.”
“As your police chief, I am cautious to offer my personal opinions during on-going investigations as they are not useful in matters of law. I understand what this flag represents, hate. The flag and its meaning certainly opposes my personal values and those of our police department. Additionally, I feel strongly that this hateful act has no moral place in our community,” wrote police chief Andy Le Beau.
They ask for the public’s help in identifying the suspect. Additionally, on Wednesday evening town officials “will be offering an Antisemitism resolution” at the Boone Council Chambers located at 1500 Blowing Rock Road at 6 p.m. The public is welcome to come and show support for the Jewish community of Boone, according to the post.
Multiple antisemitic incidents have been reported around North Carolina since December. On the morning before Hannukah began, a banner sporting neo-Nazi language and was hung on an overpass in Moore County. A second, similar banner was found on Christmas and swastikas were found painted on a business hosting a holiday-themed drag event in Apex.
On Dec. 16, CBS17 reported that someone ‘hacked’ the intercom system at Enloe High School in Raleigh and made antisemitic remarks praising Hitler, as well as threats against President Joe Biden.
While the initial banner in Moore County seemed to allude to the attack on two Duke Energy substations in Moore County, sporting the words “bring it all down,” and a link to a Telegram channel where a graphic of a substation had the same words, the sheriff’s office is investigating them as separate events.
Several North Carolina men with neo-Nazi connections are currently awaiting sentencing or trial for plotting to attack electrical substations. The co-founder of Atomwaffen Division, a neo-Nazi offshoot, was recently charged with planning attacks on substations in Maryland, sharing a video about the Moore County attack with an FBI informant as part of the planning.
Anyone with information on the Temple of High Country incident should contact Boone Police Department. Anyone with information about the substation shootings in Moore or Randolph Counties should call the FBI.