CommunityPam's House Blend

Spread the love: hate messages burned into San Jose lawns

The cowardly bigots continue their “communication campaign” in places around the country. Three crosses burned last week in Durham, and now look at what’s happening in California (Chronicle photos by Liz Mangelsdorf).

The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department is investigating as a hate crime the defacement of nine suburban San Jose lawns by someone who burned swastikas and other inflammatory messages into the grass, apparently using chemicals.

Deputy Terrance Helm said his department was first called to the 400 and 500 blocks of South Cypress Avenue near Stevens Creek Boulevard in unincorporated San Jose on May 18. Then on Wednesday, one of the residents called again to report that he suspected his lawn had been hit again. Today, Helm said that not enough time had passed for the chemical to take effect, so deputies weren’t sure if the perpetrator had returned.

Eight of the lawns had swastikas burned into them, including those of at least two homes with Jewish residents. A racial epithet had been burned into the lawn of a home whose residents are black, Helm said. That is the home that may have been hit again, he said.

Authorities have taken soil samples to try to determine what kind of chemical was used, Helm said. The NAACP of San Jose/Silicon Valley is offering a $1,000 reward to anyone who can provide information leading to an arrest and conviction, said organization president Rick Callender, who is coordinating with the Sheriff’s Department to monitor tips.

Thanks to House Blender Paul for the pointer.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding