Sidewalk swastika outside Junction business for second time in half a year

(WSB photo)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Looking north down the sidewalk in front of Sleepers in Seattle, you wouldn’t notice the spot unless it was pointed out to you.

This morning, the owners of the shop at 4741 California SW used graffiti remover to get rid of a swastika written onto the sidewalk.

“We get tagged all the time, but not like this,” Max Alcabes, son of owners Carlos and Meryl Alcabes, said as we stood on the sidewalk, looking at the spot.

Here’s a photo provided by the Alcabes, taken before they removed it. (Our policy is generally not to fully show this type of vandalism unless requested by police for investigative purposes.) It wasn’t huge or bold. That’s not the point. It would have had the same effect even if it were tiny:

“We’re a Jewish family.”

Meryl had made note of that, calling us after reporting it to police and the regional Anti-Defamation League office. We happened to be in The Junction at the time, and went over to talk to her husband and son at the shop.

They say this is the second time it’s happened in less than half a year. The Alcabes didn’t report it the first time, but, Max says, “Twice in a year, it’s not random.”

He said he walked The Junction looking to see if the same kind of symbol had been marked anywhere else. He didn’t see anything – just what was marked outside the shop that serves as a showroom for their business, which they’ve owned for 25 years.

Here are the city and county codes for malicious harassment – the terminology used for a hate crime. If you have any information, contact Seattle Police.

ADDED TUESDAY NIGHT: Meryl Alcabes tells us that after seeing this story, people stopped in all day to offer support; she comments below, “Thank you so much for the support we are getting from all of you, our West Seattle neighbors.”

35 Replies to "Sidewalk swastika outside Junction business for second time in half a year"

  • Roxy February 2, 2016 (1:07 pm)

    So sorry to hear about this disgusting event. Wish the hater would move to a different planet.

  • Laura February 2, 2016 (1:34 pm)

    Sorry and a little peeved to hear this is happening. As a West Seattle resident, I stand with the Alcabes, and condemn such gross harassment. 

  • birdgeek February 2, 2016 (1:34 pm)

    Sounds like a great opportunity for a CCTV camera. Very sorry to hear about this.

  • dsa February 2, 2016 (1:51 pm)

    ditto Birdgeek.  I have absolutely no understanding of the motivation for this behavior.  It seems insane.

  • CMT February 2, 2016 (2:02 pm)

    I am so sorry this happened, Alcabes family.  Just disgusting.  My family and I support you!

  • enough February 2, 2016 (2:30 pm)

    Sorry this happened to you. I think Seattle thinks it’s all progressive, inclusive, and tolerant, high and mighty. But apparently not.

  • LAintheJunction February 2, 2016 (2:44 pm)

    Hate has no place in West Seattle. We bought our memory foam mattress from the Sleepers in Seattle and are glad to be able to support the Alcabes’ local business.

  • Panda February 2, 2016 (2:46 pm)

    I have noticed several times that there is a man that sleeps in the alcove to the south of Sleepers. Not saying it is him, just commenting that there are people that hang around this area at night with nothing better to do than be idiots. 

    • Mark S February 2, 2016 (3:01 pm)

      @Panda Not disagreeing with the presence of idiots (I live on the south end of the junction on California – trust me, I hear / see PLENTY of idiots) but wanted to point out that sleeping in the streets is different than being an idiot (which is what your wording implied).  

    • At least it's an ethos February 2, 2016 (3:11 pm)

      Right…a homeless person decided to crawl 15′ out to the middle of the sidewalk from his sleeping spot to draw a swastika.  Don’t let rational thought prevent you from scapegoating the homeless.  It’s most likely a former employee or dumbass teenager.You’re right about the individual responsible for it being an idiot, as it’s backwards.  

  • Dan February 2, 2016 (2:51 pm)

    Heh — the perp was too stupid to draw an actual swastika.  This is a reverse swastika, commonly called a “sauwastika”…You’re pretty sad if you can’t even commit a hate crime properly.

    • Rick February 3, 2016 (6:12 am)

      So then it wouldn’t be a hate crime as much as a parody of one?

      • WSB February 3, 2016 (7:13 am)

        I spoke with a representative of the Anti-Defamation League to find out if this kind of thing is on the rise, decline, about the same as ever – while she said they don’t keep statistics, she did mention the “backward swastika” and said that while it likely means this isn’t the work of an organized group, it does not mean the person(s) who made the marking didn’t understand very well that it was a symbol of hate. – TR

  • 2 Much Whine February 2, 2016 (3:14 pm)

    Wow @Enough.  I had no idea “Seattle” was a living, sentient being.  I thought it was a city filled with people; lots of people with lots of attitudes and beliefs.  Some of them good and some of them bad.  I see one (unacceptable) swastika that was made by one idiot person and way more comments from caring and compassionate neighbors that are neither high nor mighty.  I have no idea who you are but your post sounds an awful lot like a troll that haunts the Craigslist R&R section that lives in, but hates, West Seattle.   I sincerely hope that is not you because that person appears to have some serious mental health issues.  There ARE progressive, inclusive and tolerant people that live here and there are conservative, divisive and intolerant people too.  You can’t dump everyone into one bucket.  That swastika makes me sick to my stomach and I live here too.

  • Panda February 2, 2016 (3:15 pm)

    @Mark S – I realized after I posted that my comment could be construed as meaning the street sleeper was an idiot. I should have used better punctuation and separated the two. Idiots in the Junction at night? Yes. A guy observed sleeping in that spot? Yes. Also, Dan is correct – this is a left – or – common Buddhist Swastika. I have seen plenty of them on my trips to Asia. Unless the photo was a reverse. Perhaps a selfie taken with the old OS?

  • CanDo February 2, 2016 (3:59 pm)

    Dear Creepy Person,  doing creepy things in front of one of West Seattle’s beloved family businesses:   Watch your back, because there will be legal retribution if you are caught and many of us are now watching much more closely.   Yes, that’s right.   I would constantly look around and behind yourself when you are on the street because good people everywhere in West Seattle will not tolerate your hateful behavior and we are watching. 

  • Alki Parent February 2, 2016 (4:24 pm)

    The city prompty took care of the “n word” graffiti when it popped up on the Alki Elem. playground, but “Aryans” has been there for more than two weeks and the city doesn’t seem to mind. The school district won’t touch it because it’s city property. 

  • candrewb February 2, 2016 (4:28 pm)

    I am very sorry this happened to you. This seems more like the work of a bored simpleton or a kid. I may be wrong, but if it was meant out of hate or to inspire fear,  you would think it would be more in-your-face, spray-painted on the window or something…

  • Meryl Alcabes February 2, 2016 (4:53 pm)

    Thank you so much for the support we are getting from all of you, our West Seattle neighbors.  We have always felt welcome in the Junction and we consider ourselves and our business part of the fabric of the West Seattle community.   We feel that when a hate message is addressed to one member of this community, it affects us all.   Your outpouring of support is encouraging and inspiring.  The Alcabes Family/Sleepers In Seattle

  • West Seattle Hipster February 2, 2016 (5:01 pm)

    Sad and distressing, but in a country that has millions of people willing to put Donald Trump into the White House, not entirely surprising.  

  • Northwest February 2, 2016 (5:08 pm)

    A horrible act by an obviously sick person. I realize there is an association for The Junction businesses but representation on a community level I believe no longer exists this is an area growing tremendously in the 98116 zip of West Seattle I imagine with that growth other related problems will arise crime litter ect. . Maybe the influx of new people moving to the area can help fill this empty spot for the community. 

  • Timeslid February 2, 2016 (6:02 pm)

    BOOO!!!!  Such boorish behavior has no place in our community. Pox on their houses for such ignorant and hateful behavior. 

  • Lynn G February 2, 2016 (7:32 pm)

    So  sickened to hear of such a horrible incident taking place here in WS.  Regardless of intent, the meaning behind the symbol expresses nothing but the ugliest form of hatred and certainly must have distressed the Alcabes Family.  You have the support of our family and I  hope that this is just another ignorant vandal who will be caught up with soon! 

  • Ken Molsberry February 2, 2016 (7:42 pm)

    To the Alcabes – We stand behind you. We’re very sorry that this has happened to you. Hate has no place in our community. Thank you for being such good neighbors and community members. You have our support.Ken & Chris 

  • cj February 3, 2016 (4:50 am)

    I feel bad for them … really, but I have to point out that other counter religious symbols get placed around Seattle as well and do not have this effect   If it is a single person then find them and make them clean the side walk.  They might not be so willing to dirty it up afterward.

  • WestSeattleLiving February 3, 2016 (6:41 am)

    We support the Sleepers in Seattle and condem the graffiti criminals. Graffiti itself is bad enough, but the possibility someone is targeting people of a particular kind really makes me mad…probably not related, but someone scratched KKK into my car a while back I wonder if it’s the same fool? West Seattle is diverse and we love it that way. Let’s all rally and defeat criminals who deface property with violent images and messages in this area…can we criminalize graffiti to make a stronger punishment when these dregs of society mark up the place?

  • T Rex February 3, 2016 (7:25 am)

    Nice slam there West Seattle Hipster, your statement was completely off subject and actually pretty ignorant.

    • forgotmyname February 3, 2016 (8:29 am)

      “ignorant” in what way?  When a candidate says bigoted things  –  immigrants are “an infectious disease” and that Mexicans are “rapists” (oh, but he so graciously added “and some, I assume, are good people”) – and courts the support of bigots – wanting to imprison anyone whose religion fails to meet mob approval, retweeting “@WhiteGenocide” – , it’s fair to assume they’re a bigot.  And when someone champions him in spite of all that – I think it’s fair to consider why.  Drawing the conclusion that the answer is “because I agree with him” isn’t “ignorant”.   You only consider it such because you disagree or take it personally – which in no way makes Westseattlehipsters perspective of Trump supporters wrong, just a different perspective from yours.

  • Jason February 3, 2016 (8:43 am)

     The actual graffiti looks juvenile, and rapidly scrawled. They’ll likely find it was a younger person that actually knows them or their family. It is also historically inaccurate. If the perpetrator is trying to allude to German National Socialist (Nazi, to the Allied countries of WWII) ideology, they’ve drawn it in the wrong direction. They are most likely trying to be obnoxious without getting caught.

  • Jon February 3, 2016 (8:46 am)

    Before everybody assumes the ghost of Hitler has returned to terrorize mattress shop owners; there has been a swastika drawn on the orange wall between Tacos Guaymas and Poggie Tavern for months. It was painted over with a single layer, and can still be easily spotted. My guess is that someone at the bar went out on a smoke break (in the front, because: of course), got bored, and decided to draw on the wall like an idiot. Honestly, the odds of the family being targeted are extremely slim. It’s more than likely just some bored idiot whose actions – by mere coincidence – found the right business to offend and frighten with their random act of idiocy. I doubt the person doing it knew they were Jewish and are “Aryan” anything; just like how the person who spray-painted “Drink Beer Everyday” or whatever on the wall at the park the other day probably doesn’t work at a brewery and is engaging in some guerrilla marketing. It’s probably the work of a bored and possibly drunk dummy who thought it would be hilarious if people saw their work the next day. Either way, stay safe.

  • Kadoo February 3, 2016 (9:32 am)

    FYI, cj, the swastika isn’t a religious symbol. Might want consider WW2 history. There is a reason the swastika stirs up such strong feelings. 

    • hj February 3, 2016 (1:59 pm)

      FYI, the swastika is a religious symbol. Might want to consider the 2000 years of history before WWII. Having said that, it’s unlikely that anyone did this with reference to the Jainist symbol.

  • Wsea 98116 February 3, 2016 (11:26 am)

    “There ARE progressive, inclusive and tolerant people that live here and there are conservative, divisive and intolerant people too.  You can’t dump everyone into one bucket. “Ha!  2 much whine employs a two bucket system. 

  • Scubafrog February 3, 2016 (4:54 pm)

    I also stand with the Alcabes.  I’m disgusted and ashamed that this has happened in our community.  Shame on the animal that’s perpetrating these hate crimes.

  • CMT February 3, 2016 (5:12 pm)

    “Honestly, the odds of the family being targeted are extremely slim” I might agree if this hadn’t been the second  swastika in front of their store in the last 6 months.  I have lived in West Seattle for the last 13 years and have never seen swastika graffiti so this seems a bit too much of a coincidence.

Sorry, comment time is over.