Police investigating after Chandler menorah turned into swastika

Posted at 3:38 PM, Dec 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-31 10:29:55-05

Police are investigating after one family's Hanukkah display was contorted into a swastika Friday morning.

A Chandler police spokesperson says officers responded to a home near Chandler Boulevard and McClintock Drive around 5:30 a.m. 

After taking the initial report, the officer helped the residents disassemble the swastika. 

In a Facebook post about the incident, Naomi Ellis said her husband built the menorah out of PVC pipes after their children asked to have their own holiday lights for the season.

"We live in a great neighborhood with kind and welcoming neighbors," Ellis wrote. "However, this morning we were greeted with this horrible act of aggression. This clear act of hate and racism is disturbing and sad."

The swastika was taken down before the couple's children woke up, Ellis said.

"Just waking up to see that first thing is kind of rattling," said Seth Ellis, who built the menorah. "It just makes me sad and it makes me feel sick that's still how people look at the world in 2016."

Ellis' post quickly spread on Facebook, earning national attention.

Ellis and her husband spent part of Friday afternoon rebuilding the menorah.

“You have to put it back up," Seth Ellis said. "I mean, what kind of statement is it for me not to put it back up, especially for my kids?"

The Ellis family invites the community to attend a "lighting" of the new menorah at their home on Boston Street south of Chandler Boulevard between Rural and McClintock at 5:30 p.m.  

No arrests have been made. Investigators are turning to neighbors to see if they saw anything or captured surveillance video of the incident.

Chandler police said talk of the act as a hate crime isn't the place of police, and any such determination isn't a charge in itself but an enhancement to be considered at sentencing.

And if the second menorah is also vandalized, Seth Ellis says he's ready.

"I'll keep doing it - as many times as I have to," he said.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this story.