Two recent Arcadia church vandalisms prompt hate crime investigation

ARCADIA — An Arcadia church was vandalized and set on fire for the second time in the past two weeks in what police are investigating as possible hate crimes.
The break-ins and vandalisms took place about 2:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Holy Angels Church, 330 Campus Drive, and sometime overnight between Jan. 19 and 20 at the Church of the Good Shepherd, 400 West Duarte Road, Arcadia police officials said in a written statement.
“What we’re trying to do is get the word out to the religious community,” Arcadia police Sgt. Tom Le Veque said.
Due to the similarity in the crimes, as well as the proximity and timing between them, detectives suspected the incidents may be related and asked the community to keep an eye out for suspicious behavior, the sergeant said.
“Although neither crime involved entry into the church sanctuaries, both events involved religious artifacts or items and we are treating these as religious-based hate crimes,” according to the police statement. Both crimes occurred in portions of the churches used for administrative offices.
In the most recent crime, an unknown vandal or vandals broke in through an office window and smashed two religious statues and a DVD player, Le Veque said.
They also kicked in the interior office door and rummaged through several rooms in the building, police said.
Investigators were not aware of anything missing from the Holy Angels Church Wednesday, Le Veque added.
Officials found smoke inside the church when they arrived and also discovered a small fire of papers and carpet against an interior hallway inside the building, officials said.
Police encountered a similar scene when responded to a report of a break-in at the Church of the Good Shepherd on the morning of Jan. 20, Le Veque said.
Officials found a door to an administrative building forced open and the interior ransacked, police said.
Clergy robes were thrown on the ground, a fire extinguisher had been discharged within the building and a religious portrait hanging on the wall had been set on fire, investigators said. A guitar and other sound equipment was stolen from the church.
No suspect description was available Wednesday.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Arcadia police at 626-574-5150. Tips can also be submitted anonymously by calling L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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’666′ painted on church near Covina investigated as hate crime

A church was found painted with graffiti including the number “666” early Saturday in what deputies are investigating as a hate crime, officials said.
An unknown vandal or vandals scrawled the message in blue paint sometime between 10 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. Saturday at Trinity Lutheran Church, 16050 East San Bernardino Road in an unincorporated county area near Covina, said Sgt. Pete Schupe of the sheriff’s San Dimas Station, which is investigating the incident.
The graffiti, a poorly drawn cross with three sixes to its right, was written about 4 feet above ground level on the wall of the church’s Fellowship Hall in the southwest portion of the small campus. It was behind the building and not visible from the street.
It was about four feet tall and three feet wide.
Deputies recovered a bottle of blue paint from some bushes nearby the vandalized wall, Schupe said.
Church officials could not be reached for comment Sunday afternoon.

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Vandals target Whittier synagogue

There’s three swastikas painted on the side of the Temple Beth Shalom, but the cops don’t think its a hate crime:


WHITTIER – Vandals painted graffiti – including a swastika – on the main building at Temple Beth Shalom over the weekend, officials said Monday.

At this point in the investigation, the incident is not being labeled a hate crime, said Sgt. Craig Harman of the Norwalk Sheriff’s Station.

“Not to diminish the painting of a swastika on the synagogue, but it looks like it was just some punk kids who did this,” he said.

Herb Sussman, Beth Shalom boardmember agreed, saying he thinks it was gangs and not anti-semitic.

“Graffiti has popped up here before, and it’s been gang-related,” he said.  

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Latino gangs targeted in hate crime sweep

While local public officials continue to deny the existence of brown on black hate crime, the FBI cracked down on a Hawaiian Gardens gang responsible for several heinous crimes.

From the Associated Press:

Federal and local agencies were conducting a series of arrests targeting members and associates of the Varrio Hawaiian Gardens street gang, U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesman Thom Mrozek said.

A series of federal racketeering indictments was due to be unsealed later Thursday, detailing firearms, narcotics and other charges related to the attacks, Mrozek said.

Further details were not released, but Mrozek said the indictments would detail the attacks on several black victims.

The indictments mark at least the second time in less than two years that federal authorities have alleged that Latino gang members attacked black residents because of their race. Local officials have tried to downplay any racial tensions.

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Another take on hate crimes

The county’s report on hate crimes, which was released Thursday indicated a 28-percent rise in such incidents. This excerpt from our story gives some local flavor to the report:

The report said there were 94 hate crimes reported in the San Gabriel Valley and another 45 reported in the East Los Angeles area, which includes Montebello, Pico Rivera, La Mirada, Whittier and La Habra.

The spike, which comes as the Sheriff’s Department and Los Angeles Police Department reported a 5 percent to 6percent reduction in overall crime, was driven by several factors, including gang rivalries and tensions between African Americans and Latinos, officials said.

The report specifically addressed a series of attacks on Latinos by suspected black gang members in Pasadena beginning in 2006. By August of last year, 69 incidents had been investigated, according to the report.

“We talked about the Pasadena situation – `Sock on Mexicans’ – in detail there,” said Robin Toma, executive director of the commission. “That was a notable challenge.”

Toma also referred to recent gang violence that took the lives of 63-year-old Sanders Rollins, 16-year-old Sammantha Salas and 19-year-old Brandon Lee earlier this year.

Then there’s this from the LA Noir blog:

Continue reading

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Blogger reports race crime in Arcadia

The From Noise to Voice blog of an Arcadia resident reports a frightening find on the street outside his home:

This morning, I found our mailbox in pieces, laying on the ground, ran over by a car during the night. My house is next to a high traffic intersection. It’s not a strange thing a car jumped the curb and ran up to the sidewalk. It has happened before…

As I was picking up the pieces, I found a note stuffed inside the mailbox…How nice, I thought to myself, the guy is nice enough to leave me his/her contact information…

Boy, was I wrong! I found the scribble be…

“JAPS GO HOME”

My message to the person who did this…

First of all, I am an American! A Chinese American, proud to be!!! Go home? Home is here!!! If you don’t like it, YOU GO HOME!!! You are a coward! You did this hiding in the dark of the night…

Here’s the rest of the entry

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Hate stabbing reported at San Dimas middle school

This from the Daily Bulletin:

SAN DIMAS – An Asian man was stabbed in the face and torso during a hate crime attack at Lone Hill Middle School on Tuesday evening.

Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies said the attackers – a 15-year-old boy and a man in his 20s – shouted racial epithets while stabbing the man. “They were shouting out ‘White power’ or something like that,” said sheriff’s Lt. Roxanne Hart.

A white man who was walking with the victim at the school at 700 South Lone Hill Avenue about 8:30 p.m. received cuts and bruises from being punched by the pair, Hart said.

Paramedics flew the Asian man to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center where he was listed in critical condition.

Deputies identified the 15-year-old suspect and arrested him. The man in his 20s was not in custody, Hart said.

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