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Sign vandalized with swastika near Mt. Juliet

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It's an ugly reminder right here in Wilson County of the recent anti-Semitic movement that is sweeping the country of late.

A cruise down Central Pike reveals at the 9500 block a very precise Swastika symbol morphed from an innocent four-way direction sign.

It's in the Wilson County jurisdiction and was caught on a cell phone camera Friday night. Wilson County Sheriff's Office Lt. Scott Moore said there was a vandalism report over the weekend, but it was the usual vulgar, obscene sort. On Tuesday he said he was going to send a deputy out to the area the symbol was found and see what's up.

And while vandalism on street signs, walls and bridges usually is by teens trying to get a thrill, this particular symbol causes concerns, local authorities said.

Tensions are high this week in Jewish communities as police in St. Louis, Mo. investigate the recent vandalism at a historic Jewish cemetery called Chased Shel Emeth Society. Over 100 grave markers were destroyed and desecrated.

Just Monday, 11 phoned-in bomb threats were reported by various Jewish centers across the country and since January, 60 bomb threats have been made to 54 Jewish centers in the United States and Canada, according to The Jewish Society's David Posner.

The vandalized sign near Mt. Juliet is near Center Chapel Church of Christ and very near Mt. Juliet. Many people view the symbol of the swastika as anti-Jewish.

The spate of anti-Jewish threats has caused alarm and Moore said symbols like this can arise when things are trending in the nation.

"We take such things seriously and won't tolerate them," he said. "Some people are attention getters and have a rush of adrenaline when they do things like this. This particular sign looks precise and it had to have taken some time."

Mt. Juliet Police Chief James Hambrick said he's seen some anti-Jewish signs in the past, mixed in with the usual, teen-prank symbols of vulgarity.

"It's a slap in the face to the Jewish community for sure," he said. "This is a sign of the crazy things unfortunately going on in our world these days. I feel it represents the division permeating our society and it's very unfortunate."

Both officials said, if caught, the vandal, or vandals, will be hit with a steep fine, court costs, restitution payments and possibly more.

Moore said he has people investigating this particular incident.

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Mt. Juliet, Police Department, Vandalism
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