Police arrested a 20-year-old Virginia man in connection with three recent hate-motivated incidents.
Anti-Semitic graffiti was spray-painted at the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia (JCCNV) overnight on the first night of Passover this week. A nearby church was targeted with hateful vandalism the same night.
"Within 48 hours with the help of our community we arrested the offender in this horrific hate crime event,” Fairfax County Police Chief Ed Roessler said.
Police arrested 20-year-old Dylan M. Mahone at his Annandale home Wednesday night. He is also suspected of posting anti-Semitic flyers at Northern Virginia Community College in March, gluing the flyers to tables and chairs. He is a student at the school.
All of the incidents occurred within about a mile of Mahone's home, police said.
Among the hateful messages at the JCCNV on Little River Turnpike, "Hitler was right" was spray-painted across an entrance. A swastika and an "SS" symbol were spray-painted onto exterior walls.
The nearby Little River United Church of Christ also was vandalized, with swastikas, anti-LGBTQ messages and anti-Muslim signs. "Defend America; No Muslims," was written across the front door.
The acts of vandalism were discovered Tuesday morning.
Police identified Mahone as a suspect through surveillance video and a Twitter account called Aryan Underground on which photos of the flyers at the community college were posted. Mahone's phone number was linked to the Twitter handle.
Among the items police found in his home were spray paint and clothing seen in the surveillance video.
“This includes clothing and the mask the suspect wore, bags the suspect carried, and spray-paint he used to vandalize,” police spokeswoman Julie Parker said.
The video shows Mahone acted alone, police said.
He is charged in Fairfax County with two counts each of felony destruction of property, placing a swastika on religious property with the intent to intimidate and wearing a mask in public to conceal his identity. Northern Virginia Community College Police charged him with felony destruction of property and wearing a mask to conceal his identity.
Little River United Church of Christ pastor the Rev. Dr. David Lindsey said he suspects the church was targeted because it is open to diversity.
Members of the community have rallied to help clean up the graffiti.
"Neighbors have literally rolled up their sleeves to clean windows for faith communities that are not even their own," Lindsey said.
Lindsey and JCCNV Executive Director Jeff Dannick said the vandalism forged a new friendship between their communities. The church is holding a vigil at 7:30 p.m. Saturday with support from JCCNV.