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Hate-Filled Letter With Swastika Mailed To New York City Businesses, Institutions

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Several businesses in New York City are the targets of hate.

As CBS2's Alice Gainer reported, businesses in Harlem and in Brooklyn all received suspicious letters in the mail. Police late Wednesday were trying to determine who sent the letters.

The letter showed a large swastika with the phrase, "Make America Great Again!!!" The letter targets Jews, black people and the gay community – with the German phrase "Juden raus" meaning "Jews out," followed by a sentence reading, "N*****s and f*****s must burn in hell." It ends with "Christian identity is back."

"This is very, very like disturbing, because this is the first time ever," said Hilda Hurtado, an employee of Numero Uno Jewelry in East Harlem, Hurtado opened the hate letter that was sent to the store on Friday during Yom Kippur.

"It was very shocking because you receive this letter, also the days of your holidays -- it was disgusting," she said.

Hurtado's boss is Jewish. She herself is Catholic, and is appalled with the "Christian identity" wording at the end of the letter.

"About Christianity, I mean, Christian people, they don't do that," she said.

At least nine businesses and other establishments received the letter, which had no return address. They included:

• A law firm at 3171 Coney Island Ave. in Midwood, Brooklyn;

• A Starbucks at 301 W. 145th St. in Harlem;

• The Harlem Business Alliance at 275 Lenox Ave. in Harlem;

• A law office at 1801 Voorhies Ave. in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn

• Numero Uno Jewelry at 179 E. 116th St. in East Harlem;

• Weiss Bakery and Satmar Meat at 5011 Thirteenth Ave. in Borough Park, Brooklyn;

• The Israeli Consulate at 800 Second Ave. in Midtown East.

"I feel uncomfortable, you know, because it mentions some evil words," said Sean Hsu, a customer at the Harlem Starbucks that was targeted.

Hsu said people from all walks of life come through the doors at the Starbucks, and there is never an issue.

Paul Freund of the Borough Park butcher shop talked with WCBS 880's Alex Silverman about the letter.

"To me it sounds -- I'm not afraid as though, to me it could be, whoever did it in 2017 to me is stupid," Freund said.

The Anti-Defamation League strongly condemns the letters and says it is working closely with the NYPD. The Brooklyn District Attorney's office is also investigating.

State Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) got involved as soon as the first letter was involved.

"In light of what's going on the world, all threats must be taken very seriously," Hikind said in a statement. "We're not waiting for an incident before addressing a threat."

U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.) also released a statement on the letters.

"Such attacks on our Jewish neighbors are repugnant and have absolutely no place in our City," she said in the statement. "New Yorkers embrace one another and the fabric of our city is ever strengthened by our diversity. To New York's rich Jewish community—I stand shoulder-to-shoulder with you in expressing my sheer outrage at these acts of hate."

Some, though, are quick to write off the hate letters as just talk.

"Right now there's lots of people that want to get publicity, you know, for whatever it is – you know, they have nothing else to do," one man said. "They want to divide people, and there's lots of love in New York City."

They are hopeful that love will continue to triumph over hate.

The Anti-Defamation League is also looking into reports of another letter received at an address in Los Angeles.

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