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Yorktown Justice Ilan Gilbert Center of Possible Hate Crime

YORKTOWN, N.Y. -- Current Yorktown Town Justice, Ilan Gilbert said he found his campaign poster defamed and marked with a swastika Monday night after the Chamber of Commerce debates at Yorktown Stage.

Gilbert, who read a statement about his candidacy for Yorktown Justice against opponent Gary Raniolo earlier in the evening Monday, said he walked out to find the historically anti-Semitic and hateful symbol etched onto his poster.

The judge said he had brought the poster into the lobby of the theater after his arrival at around 6:45 p.m. and secured it with scotch tape when he realized other candidates had brought in lawn signs and he had not.

Gilbert said he read his statement and listened to debates between candidates up for other positions before exiting the theater to enter the men’s room at around 9 p.m. After speaking with other people outside the theater, Gilbert gathered his materials, which is when he found that his poster had been defaced.

“I can’t imagine a reason why someone would do it,” Gilbert said Tuesday. “Whether it was just done for random reasons, or if it was done to send a message, I just don’t know.”

Gilbert said he was shaken up at what many would perceive to be a hate-crime.

“It could have been done by someone who has no real clue of how seeing something like that could be so painful, or it could have been done by someone who knew exactly why they were doing it, and did it for that exact reason.”

Gilbert said he called the police to notify them of the incident. Lt. Kevin Soravilla of the Yorktown Police Department said no arrests have been made surrounding the incident.

Gilbert explained that, to his understanding, the doors to the theater were closed when the debate started, but the doors to the lobby were not. His poster was located in the lobby. This expands the scope of whoever could have defamed the poster to anyone surrounding the theater that night, not just those inside at the debate.

“It’s just troubling, but it’s not devastating,” Gilbert said. “Obviously it was done to upset me and it has a specific meaning, and there are very strong connotations. But I have no way of knowing what someone’s reasoning behind this is.”

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