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October 12, 2017

Police: White supremacist flyers mailed to Montgomery County residents not a hate crime

White Supremacists Hate Crime
swastika Jens Meyer/AP

A swastika flag.

Police in Montgomery County say they are still gathering information about the distribution of flyers from an "apparent white supremacist organization" to residents.

The Borough of East Greenville Police Department said on Tuesday it had been notified of the suspicious mailings. Later that day, the department said the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office had determined no hate crime had been committed by those who mailed the "disturbing" flyers.

NBC10 reported Wednesday that the flyers had been mailed to about 5,000 residents in Red Hill, Pennsburg and East Greenville and had been personalized for individual residents, including one labeled "Eagles fan" because the owner had a team banner on his lawn and another marked "Crazy Cat Lady" because the owner had a sign with that phrase.

According to WFMZ, the flyers had Nazi messages on them, including a swastika and an Adolf Hitler quote.

East Greenville police tried to explain why the flyers weren't classified as a hate crime by posting a link to the state's definition of such crimes, to which a few people responded with apparent pictures of the flyers. One shows someone holding a knife to another person's throat with the message: "Welcome to multicultural USA." Another contains anti-Semitic imagery and messaging. 

In another update late Wednesday night, East Greenville police said they wanted to correct an error by a local news agency that reported on the flyer.

"They incorrectly stated that some of the flyers were 'hand delivered,'" a Facebook post read. "We received NO reports of any flyers being hand delivered. This would imply that the person responsible had some sort of interaction with the recipient."

While the department didn't specify what news agency it was referring to, NBC10 issued a correction on its story to clarify that an account of the flyers being hand-delivered came from a resident, not East Greenville Borough Police Chief Andrew Skelton.

Police said anyone with information on the incident is asked to call 215-679-5194.