South Daytona police investigate possible hate crime

Cars vandalized with racial slurs, graffiti

SOUTH DAYTONA, Fla. – The South Daytona Police Department is investigating a possible hate crime after two vehicles were vandalized by graffiti with racial slurs.

[Warning, content may be graphic: PICS: Car vandalized ]

Police said the victim woke up just before 8 a.m. Thursday to find his vehicle and a second vehicle belonging to his friend were vandalized by graffiti, which included racial slurs.

According to police, both vehicles were parked in the driveway of a home on Northern Avenue. 

One of the vehicles also had its tires slashed, police said.

"Based on the nature of the words spray-painted on the vehicles, this is considered a hate crime," police said in a statement. 

The investigation is ongoing.

"It was just very shocking," said Angela Moler.

Moler said she alerted her next-door neighbor around 7 a.m. Thursday after she noticed racial slurs plastered on two cars parked in the driveway.

"To see something like that happen in this day in age too. I thought we were beyond that by now," she said.

South Daytona police said this was not only vandalism but a hate crime.

"We believe this was a specific incident that happened because of who they were and the two of them being together," said Lt. Mark Cheatham.

Residents on Northern Road said since the incident everyone is on alert.

"It's like neighborhood watch. People are keeping an eye on each other," said Moler.

"It is a hate crime, we don't tolerate it in our city and we won't tolerate it. So, we're going to find those suspects and they're going to be charged accordingly," said Lt. Cheatham.

One of the victims spoke with News 6 but declined to go on camera because she fears for her safety. The homeowner has yet to return News 6's call.

Police said the last time there was a hate crime in the city was 12 years ago. It involved a man named Kevin Lynch, who police believe was a member of the KKK. Police said he tried scaring a black family who moved down his street by spray-painting KKK on their trees.

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