PAWTUCKET, R.I. — Police are investigating after a swastika was spray-painted on a welcome sign posted outside a synagogue in Pawtucket over the weekend.

The swastika, about 1-foot in diameter, was found Sunday morning on a sign for the Kollel Center for Jewish Studies at the Ohawe Sholam temple on East Avenue.

Irving Schild, a Holocaust survivor and member of the congregation, was among the first to discover the disturbing image. He called it a “heinous crime.”

Police say the vandalism occurred between 9 p.m. Saturday, when Sabbath services concluded, and 7 a.m. Sunday. Officer John Brown says he will turn his report over to detectives, who may investigate the incident as a hate crime.

Rabbi Raphie Schochet has advised the congregation to continue to promote a strong message against “bullies and bigots.”