A 9/11 memorial in New Jersey that features a steel beam from the World Trade Center was defaced with the word "hoax" spray-painted in black letters across its base.
The graffiti was discovered Monday morning, according to North Brunswick officials.
"For me, it's a sense of disbelief that someone could do this," said Lou Ann Benson, director of the Department of Parks, Recreation & Community Services.
She said that the vandalism was especially hurtful to the community, because so many families in North Brunswick were affected by the terrorist attacks.
The memorial – two stone hands lifting up a red beam from the trade center – were placed at the 9/11 memorial park in 2003. The beam, taken from ground zero, was specifically chosen by representatives of the town for the memorial, which also features the names of those who died.
According to Benson, the memorial site – located directly across from the North Brunswick municipal building – was along the patrol route of the town’s park rangers. But the rangers did not notice anything amiss over the weekend.
“I was extremely upset when I found out, I couldn’t believe it,” said North Brunswick Town Councilman Bob Davis. “And the way it was vandalized, after all of these years for someone to come out and do that it is unbelievable.”
For Davis, the vandalism struck a personal chord; his cousin, Glenn Kirwin, worked in the towers and died in the 2001 attack.
“I hope they find the person that did this,” said Davis.
Police say no arrests have been made.
“Right now we are conducting the investigation, but it is still fresh, it is still new,” said North Brunswick Police Capt. Roger Reinson.
The paint has been removed from the memorial.
Get the latest from NBC 4 New York anytime, anywhere. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Get our apps here and sign up for email newsletters here. Get breaking news delivered right to your phone -- just text NYBREAKING to 639710. For more info, text HELP. To end, text STOP. Message and data rates may apply.