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Brooklyn Museum director, board members' homes vandalized with red paint. NYPD photos show 2 suspects.

NYPD investigating vandalism targeting Brooklyn Museum board members
NYPD investigating vandalism targeting Brooklyn Museum board members 02:04

NEW YORK -- The homes of the Brooklyn Museum's director and two board members were vandalized with red paint Wednesday, and police continue to search for the group responsible. 

The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating at least five incidents -- three in Manhattan and two in Brooklyn -- but has not confirmed whether they are all connected. 

Police released photos and videos overnight showing two people they say are wanted in one of the incidents in Brooklyn. Sources say investigators are also looking into another incident on Long Island.

The NYPD released this photo overnight showing two suspects wanted in connection with a vandalism case in Brooklyn.  NYPD

Investigators believe the group targeted the homes of Brooklyn Museum trustees, following a pro-Palestinian demonstration at the museum last week, police sources said.

"We are deeply troubled by these horrible acts of vandalism targeting museum leadership," the museum said in a statement. "For two centuries, the Brooklyn Museum has worked to foster mutual understanding through art and culture, and we have always supported peaceful protest and open, respectful dialogue. Violence, vandalism, and intimidation have no place in that discourse."

A spokesperson for the museum said its director is Jewish but the two board members who were targeted are not.

Red paint, flyers thrown from U-Haul on Upper East Side

Around 6 a.m. Wednesday, sources said about 15 people threw paint and papers from a U-Haul and then fled on East 65th Street between Lexington and Park avenues. Surveillance video showed a U-Haul with people hanging off the back as it drove down East 65th Street.

The location is home to the Permanent Observer Mission of the State of Palestine to the United Nations, which says it works to promote Palestinian interests. Flyers that were found on the scene read in part, "The Palestinian Authority does not represent the Palestinian people, long live the intifada."

Staff at the organization told CBS New York "no comment."

The vandals left behind buckets that were filled with an oil-based paint and some pieces of debris or concrete, which investigators believe were intended to cause damage, sources said. Police vehicles were also defaced with graffiti.

Some people who live in the area said they weren't able to access their cars, and others said they had to miss appointments. 

"My office is literally in the middle of this block. I'm an obstetrician and I've got a lot of pregnant women coming in," one person said.   

"People need to have peace with each other, but that's life, and they did very [much] damage to the street," said another person.

"I am from Israel, I lost family members on Oct. 7 ... and I feel very sorry for what happened. For me to see something like this here in Manhattan is breaking my heart," another person added. "Hopefully, we will get into a peace process, but as it looks right now, we are very far from it."

"I saw all the tape and all the paper on the ground, and the cops everywhere. I know what's on the street, I know the Palestinian Authority is on the street, so I wasn't surprised," one person said.

Police said three people also burned flags, including an American flag, outside the Israeli Consulate around 9:30 a.m. on the East Side. 

NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force investigating multiple incidents

NYPD sources said the acts of vandalism match similar protests previously organized by the group Within Our Lifetime, but a representative told CBS New York the group did not organize this.

A week ago, pro-Palestinian demonstrators occupied the Brooklyn Museum, calling for its board to disclose any Israel-related investments and to divest.  

Wednesday's incidents have not been labeled a hate crime, but that categorization has not been ruled out, according to a high-ranking police source. A hate crime would raise the charges from vandalism or criminal mischief to a felony, which carries a stiffer penalty. 

New York City Comptroller Brad Lander said on social media the "cowards who did this are way over the line." Neighbors said they're deeply disturbed.

"It's an act of blatant antisemitism, and it's terrorism," one person said.

"Protesters are uninformed or they don't want to think about why they're protesting, and if they did, they would not support Hamas. They would feel very sorry for the Palestinian people," said another.

"This is a crime, and it's overt, unacceptable antisemitism"

Mayor Eric Adams also posted about the incidents on social media, calling them a crime. 

"This is not peaceful protest or free speech. This is a crime, and it's overt, unacceptable antisemitism. These actions will never be tolerated in New York City for any reason," he wrote.

The mayor offered his apologies to Brooklyn Museum Director Anne Pasternak and its board members. 

"I spoke to Anne this morning and committed that this hate will not stand in our city. The NYPD is investigating and will bring the criminals responsible here to justice," he wrote. 

Police said no one was hurt and no arrests have been made.

Anyone with information about the vandalism is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). You can also submit a tip via their website or via DM on Twitter, @NYPDTips. All calls are kept confidential.

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