NEWTOWN, Conn. -- The Anti-Defamation League condemned the actions of the alleged robbery, fire and hateful graffiti at a Newtown liquor store that occurred Saturday night.
The League applauded Newtown police and the Connecticut State Police for their "swift and appropriate response" to the crime, the group said in an announcement.
Newtown police are investigating the incident in which two men robbed a Route 25 liquor store at gunpoint, set it on fire and painted swastikas on the back door late Saturday, forcing the owner to jump out a window to escape, police said.
Officers responded at 8:30 p.m. to the Rooster Wine & Liquor Store at 113 S. Main St. on a report of a robbery, Newtown police Sgt. Aaron Bahamonde said in a statement.
When officers arrived, the rear of the building was on fire, police said. Officers entered and assisted the fire department in extinguishing the blaze with fire extinguishers, police said.
A store's owner said two males had entered and one man requested help in finding an item, police said. The second one, brandishing a firearm, walked the owner to the counter and took a large amount of cash from several night receipts, police said.
The suspects fled toward the rear of the store, starting a fire before going out a back door, police said. The owner smashed the front window to flee the burning building, police said.
The two suspects were described as tall white males dressed in dark clothing, police said.
Upon searching the building and surroundings area for suspects, with the assistance of a State police K9, officers saw a racial slur and two swastikas painted on the rear door of the store, police said. The owner said the markings were not there before the robbery and blamed the suspects, police said.
Anti-Defamation League Connecticut Regional Director Steve Ginsburg met with Newtown Police Chief James Viadero, Chief of Police and Bahamonde Monday to discuss the incident and offer ADL’s assistance.
"While this may be an opportunity for community education one day, right now the most important thing is making sure that everyone in Newtown knows that they are safe and the police are on top of it," said Viadero.
“We commend the Newtown Police for their work on this case; they have followed the proper procedures and gotten assistance from other agencies where needed," said Ginsburg.
"This kind of hateful action has no place in our towns or in our country. We hope that the people responsible are identified and punished.”
Over the past six months, ADL's ADL’s Connecticut office has received scores of reports of anti-Semitic incidents across the state, including incidents of vandalism, hate mail, and bomb threats, the ADL said.