WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Warwick police are investigating after packages containing racially charged messages were scattered around the Oakland Beach neighborhood overnight.

Residents woke up Tuesday morning to find clear plastic bags on their lawns and driveways. Inside were a handful of pellets and fliers reading “KANYE 2024” and “DEFCON 3 ON JEWISH PEOPLE,” along with an image of the artist and a crossed-out Star of David.

Credit: Becky Harwood

The pellets, initially feared to be poisonous, turned out to be home heating pellets and did not contain any poisonous substance, according to Warwick Police Major Joel Thomas. He said all 80 bags have since been collected as evidence.

Investigators are now working to develop suspects by reviewing surveillance video from the area and taking witness statements.

Police later released surveillance images of a vehicle, saying they want to identify the owner. Thomas said they’re not sure yet if the vehicle is involved, but it’s definitely of interest to the investigation.

(Story continues below.)

Each bag may be treated as a separate charge, according to Thomas. Given the antisemitic messaging contained within, he said Warwick police are now working with the FBI to potentially pursue federal charges in addition to local charges.

Adam Greenman, president and CEO of the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island, said these types of incidents are “becoming far too common throughout our country and throughout our state,” adding that it’s only gotten worse with celebrities like Kanye West and Kyrie Irving making antisemitic remarks in recent weeks.

“It gives a permission structure for folks who already had these views to be more brazen and to be more active, and that’s something that really concerns us,” Greenman said.

According to Greenman, there have been 23 antisemitism incidents reported to the alliance since this past June. For context, there were six incidents reported during the same time frame last year.

Congressman Jim Langevin tweeted that his “neighbors in Warwick woke up to find these disgusting fliers.”

“Antisemitism has no place in our community, and those found responsible must be held accountable,” he wrote.

Anyone with information or surveillance video is asked to contact Warwick police at (401) 468-4200.