TORONTO — There’s an uncharacteristic weariness in Alan Schwarz’s voice, but disappointment piled on top of disappointment can do that to a man.
Last week, Schwarz and the rest of his family were handed a double dose of bad news. First they were told by the Crown attorney in Durham region that charges will be dropped against an alleged young offender who had been charged in connection with the trashing of their rental property and its vandalism with anti-Semitic graffiti.
Next their insurer called to let them know their policy did not cover the $131,000 damage caused in the rampage, which left the building in downtown Bowmanville “destroyed” and covered with racist epithets.
Swastikas were painted on the front door and on the inside, along with, “F…k Jews,” “Kike,” “white power,” and “SS.”
No one, it seems, is responsible, Schwarz told The CJN, and his family has been left alone, “on an island,” forced to deal with an incident police have been unwilling to investigate as a hate crime. “We’re bearing the brunt and we did nothing wrong,” he said.
Adding insult to injury, “For Sale” signs on the property have been removed three times.
Schwarz feels let down, by the Crown and police in particular. “The day it happened, police said it was not a hate crime. What was it?” he asked.
“The whole idea of this house being destroyed as a rental property is secondary to the swastika on the front door,” Schwarz said. “All this horrible racist stuff that will go unpunished because no one investigated it as hate crime.
“The [Jewish] community ought to be concerned. This is a very bad message. Someone can write swastikas, KKK, white power [in your house] and you’re left to your own avail.”
In mid January, Durham Regional Police laid criminal charges against a youth in connection with the incident.
The young offender, who cannot be identified, was charged under sec. 441 of the Criminal Code with causing damage to a rental property, an indictable offense that carries a maximum sentence of five years in jail.
At the time, police said following through to a conviction was problematic unless witnesses stepped forward. “I have no doubt we have the right person. The trouble is finding witnesses,” said Const. Kevin Stuart of Durham Regional Police.
Stuart said a longstanding tenant had turned the home into a virtual “flop-house” with an open door allowing all kinds of people to come and go.
The problem is “proving who actually did the damage,” he said.
Assistant Crown Attorney Michael Hill said at the time that if a conviction were attained, “the ugly, hateful things on the wall are something that could form part of the submission on sentencing.”
However, Schwarz was told last week that following a pre-trial meeting that included the Crown, defence counsel and a judge, it was decided there was insufficient evidence to proceed.