SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – Authorities with the Sarasota Police Department and the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office are investigating after suspicious flyers with anti-Semitic messages ended up outside homes across the area.
Sarasota police spokesperson Genevieve Judge tells 8 On Your Side the police department was first made aware of the flyers Friday morning. Their investigation remains active and ongoing.
Sarasota Police do not believe specific homes were targeted in the distribution.
“While it is not targeted, it is still equally disturbing that folks would take the time to go ahead and spread these hate messages. We don’t want to see that in the city, we don’t wanna see it in the county,” Judge said.
The flyers were found inside plastic and paper bags filled with rice. Authorities believe they were thrown from a vehicle.
“That is why we are hoping that maybe somebody has something that was captured on their home video systems,” said Judge.
Officials with the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office are also investigating. A spokesperson with SCSO said around 100 bags were distributed in the Oyster Bay neighborhood.
The Jewish Federation of Sarasota Manatee received multiple calls from members of the community who found messages of hate outside their homes.
“Fortunately, this is a very resilient community. This is not the first time they have seen anti-Semitism, they know it is not going to be the last,” CEO Shep Englander said. “They are not going to let it prevent them from feeling confident and valued in Sarasota. Already several neighborhoods are organizing unity campaigns through their neighborhood associations. They are going to be putting out yard signs that say ‘united against hate’ and we received a request to help cover the cost of those signs and we were glad to do it.”
Authorities in Miami Beach and multiple other cities across the country have seen similar incidents occur over the last several weeks.
Anyone information or video is asked to call the Sarasota Police Department at 941-316-1199. Residents within county limits can contact SCSO at 941-861-5800.