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Community comes together after swastika found near Commuter Rail station in Natick

By WCVB Staff

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    NATICK, Massachusetts (WCVB) — Dozens of people marched on a rainy day in Natick as a show of solidarity with the Jewish community after a swastika was spray-painted near a train station in the Massachusetts town.

The swastika was discovered Thursday on the pavement next to the Boden Lane Bridge, which connects Boden Lane to Route 135 and is next to the West Natick MBTA Station, which is a stop along the Commuter Rail’s Framingham/Worcester Line.

The Natick Police Department is investigating the incident and Rabbi Levi Fogelman of the Chabad Center of Natick said police have increased their presence in the area.

MBTA Transit Police Supt. Richard Sullivan said the incident will also be investigated by a detective assigned to the department’s Criminal Investigation Unit.

“The Transit Police (Department) takes despicable acts such as this with the utmost seriousness,” Sullivan said in a statement.

Fogelman hosted a march across the Boden Lane Bridge late Sunday morning that ended at the Chabad Center, where an annual celebration dedicated to Jewish philosopher Maimonidies and his teachings.

The day after the swastika was discovered, Fogelman shared on Facebook that he received numerous phone calls from people who wanted to share their support and strength in the immediate aftermath of the incident.

Fogelman also said that a woman who is not Jewish covered up the swastika with a chalk-drawn flower that was accompanied by the message: “Hate has no place here.”

“The purpose of an antisemitic act such as this, is no doubt done to attempt to create intimidation and fear. But how we respond belongs to us,” Fogelman wrote on Facebook. “The reality is that Natick is a wonderful town with beautiful, kind hearted and good people. We are grateful to live in this environment and enjoy an atmosphere of peace and cohesion.”

Natick police Chief James Hicks said the swastika was painted in an area where there is high foot traffic. The West Natick Station also has surveillance cameras installed very close to where the swastika was painted, and there are additional cameras used during the Boston Marathon that are still in place.

“God gave us the gift of technology, let’s use it properly,” Fogelman said after Sunday’s march.

“If it’s not technology, it’s the old-fashioned bragging, talking or social media posts, or things like that,” Hicks said. “We will keep monitoring all of that to find out who’s done this and then we will deal with it accordingly.”

In a joint statement, Natick Town Administrator James Errickson and Select Board Chair Bruce Evans said that the town will leave the chalk artwork in place through Monday, which is when Department of Public Works crews will remove the hateful graffiti the chalk is covering up.

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