Vandal Spray-Paints Racist, Anti-Semitic Graffiti on Van in Wilmington - NBC 10 Philadelphia

Vandal Spray-Paints Racist, Anti-Semitic Graffiti on Van in Wilmington

The images included a swastika on the hood and several racial epithets, investigators said.

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    Police arrested a man accused of spray-painting racist and anti-Semitic messages in Coatesville, Chester County. Police are also investigating an incident in which a suspect spray-painted racist and anti-Semitic messages on a man's vehicle in Wilmington, Delaware. NBC10's Brandon Hudson speaks to a relative of the Wilmington victim as well as a South Jersey woman who is working to spread messages of love and inclusion in the face of hatred.

     

    (Published Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017)

    An investigation is underway after a vandal spray-painted racist and anti-Semitic graffiti on a minivan in Wilmington, Delaware Wednesday morning.

    Police were called to the 600 block of Bayard Avenue around 7 a.m. for a report of vandalism. When they arrived they found a van covered in spray-paint. The images included a swastika on the hood and several racial epithets, investigators said.

    A photo of the vandalism in Wilmington, Delaware
    Photo credit: NBC10

    Police say no other vehicles in the area were damaged and at this time it appears to be an isolated incident. They are currently investigating it as a hate crime. Rodney Jackson told NBC10 the vandalized van belongs to his nephew.

    "It even disturbed my mom," Jackson said. "My mom is 77-years-old." 

    Jackson said they covered the van up quickly upon discovering the vandalism so it wouldn't draw more attention. News of the incident traveled fast however and even caught the attention of Delaware Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester.

    "She kind of wanted to make sure we're okay"  Jackson said.

    Police say the vandalism occurred at some point overnight.

    "I think it's over a parking space," Jackson said. "All they need is God in their life."

    Wilmington resident Michael Flowers told NBC10 he's always felt comfortable walking around the neighborhood and is shocked by the incident.

    "I'm very concerned about the neighborhood," Flowers said. "I really am."

    The incident occurred a day after vandals spray-painted Nazi symbols, including swastikas, as well as racist language on a storefront, Mercedes Benz and a garage in the West End neighborhood of Coatesville, Chester County in Pennsylvania. A suspect, who police say had claimed past associations with white supremacist groups, was later arrested in connection to the Coatesville vandalism Wednesday night. 

    A recent NBC News report also revealed hate crimes in nine cities, including Philadelphia, increased 23.3 percent in 2016.

    "I think it's absolutely terrifying that this can happen in our country," said Robin Coyne of Audubon, New Jersey.

    Coyne, along with her husband Joseph Coyne, started the Camden County/South Jersey branch of 'Hate Has No Home Here,' a grassroots campaign against hate speech that calls for community members to display signs on their lawns promoting love, peace and inclusion.

    Coyne told NBC10 the recent racially-fueled events in Charlottesville, Virginia sparked renewed interest in their 'Hate Has No Home Here' signs. They sold 50 signs two nights ago, a new record for them.

    "We're not going to stand for white supremacist, Neo-Nazis coming out and demonstrating like that," Coyne said. "We're going to stand against them."

    If you have any information on the Wilmington vandalism, please call Detective Brandon Mosely at 302-576-3646. You can also call the Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333 or email www.delawarecrimestoppers.org.