Ashland police are investigating after several businesses along Railroad Avenue were littered with leaflets displaying a swastika and text stating “We are everywhere.”
Officers patrolling the area made the discovery around 6:40 a.m. Sunday. There were no other reports of vandalism or criminal behavior, police said in a news release.
“I want to reply to those who littered our Town: We will pick up the trash you dropped,” said Ashland Mayor Steve Trivett in the release. “Ashlanders will never be intimidated or influenced by any of the sour and sick extremisms that desire power yet deserve none. In Ashland we reserve our ‘extremisms’ for compassion, fellowship, and respect for others.”
Ashland police shared the incident with state and federal law enforcement partner “in case this incident has connections to recent regional events,” according to the release.
“This action is despicable,” said Ashland Police Chief Doug Goodman in the release. “This brand of hate and division has no place in Ashland or anywhere else. We will continue to investigate this case and pursue enforcement actions as allowed by the Code of Virginia.”
Surveillance footage captured several people “lurking around the downtown corridor just after 3 a.m.,” police said. The department is asking any business downtown with a surveillance system to review it between the hours of 3 and 4 a.m. and to turn it over to police if “of value to this investigation.”