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Man charged in connection with swastika and "Cox" vandalism in Baltimore County

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BALTIMORE -- A man has been arrested and charged in connection with the vandalism of a mailbox holder in Baltimore County, police said Tuesday. 

A swastika and the word "Cox," apparently a reference to Republican gubernatorial candidate Del. Dan Cox, were spray painted on a stone mailbox holder last Thursday in Timonium.  

The symbol associated with the Nazi party and the name Cox were tagged on both sides of the mailbox in the 10800 block of Greenspring Avenue in Timonium.

Benjamin Katz, 33, is charged with the use of a hate symbol and multiple counts of malicious destruction. He was arrested Monday, police said. 

Police said they initially responded three weeks ago on July 21 for the destruction of a political endorsement sign. After that, police said, there were at least five other incidents of vandalism at the same location. 

Detectives determined the vandalism was politically motivated, police said. 

Katz has been released on his own recognizance and is currently awaiting trial.  

Maryland State Sen. Shelly Hettleman, a Democrat whose district includes the house where the vandalism took place, tweeted an image of the graffiti last week and called it "despicable," saying "whoever is responsible should be held to account."

Referring to the election for governor, she said, "I hope this is not an omen for how this campaign season will proceed."

In response, Cox last week condemned "this hateful and antisemitic crime against me, my supporters and the Jewish people," and said he hopes authorities apprehend whoever's responsible.

Cox, the Trump-backed GOP nominee for governor who represents parts of Frederick and Carroll counties, also objected to his name and the address of the incident being shown "as it perpetrates what the intent is by whomever did this - to smear and falsely associate my name and my supporters with wicked and evil criminals."

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