Vandals leave 'get out' message in Apopka neighborhood

Residents say white, Hispanic families targeted

APOPKA, Fla. – Vandals broke into cars and spray-painted vehicles in an Apopka neighborhood over the weekend.

Residents say the vandals only went after homes of white and Hispanic families, and they're calling it a hate crime.

John Robinson called News 6 after waking up to the vandalism Sunday morning. The vandals spray-painted hateful words and profanity all over his cars. But the worse part, he said, is the clear message left on the hood: get out. "It's definitely a hate crime. The words on the car explain that pretty good," Robinson said.

Robinson said several homes on Harry Street and in nearby neighborhoods were targeted late Saturday night or early Sunday morning. The vandals busted car windows and spray-painted all over the vehicles.

Aeribto Oquendo said the suspects took the speaker from inside his truck.

"Every car is painted. They stole, they break the windows," Oquendo said.

Robinson said they live in a "mixed neighborhood" with black, white and Hispanic families living on the street. But he said the vandals only went after specific homes.

"That's who got it. The white and the Spanish," Robinson said.

The suspects also spray-painted offensive and derogatory words toward Hispanics at the entrance of a neighborhood.

People who live there are shocked this happened to their neighbors.

"Someone is sick in the head to do something like this," Gladys Earvin said.

"It's sad that somebody thinks they have to do that. What are they proving? They're just proving that they're idiots," Ike Hayden said.

The Orange County Sheriff's Office tells News 6 it is investigating these cases as vehicle burglaries and criminal mischief and will check to see they qualify as hate crimes.

Robinson said the evidence is right there, written up and down his neighborhood.

"Somebody doesn't want you here, they're going to show you you're not wanted," Robinson said.

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