CONCORD, N.H. (CBS/AP) — A two-year investigation into racist graffiti scrawled on the homes of several Concord families originally from Africa has resulted in an arrest.
Police on Tuesday arrested 42-year-old Raymond Stevens of Pembroke on a warrant charging him with criminal mischief; it wasn’t immediately known if he had a lawyer.
Police said the state attorney general’s office, the FBI, the U.S. Attorney’s office and authorities in Merrimack County, Nashua and Pembroke assisted in the investigation.
A police affidavit said Detective Wade Brown went through about 1,500 gun permit applications filled out by hand to find one that stood out. It had a distinctive lower-case “b.”
The messages were written in black permanent marker on the siding next to the main doors at each home.
“you are not welcome here,” one of the messages said. “you lower the value and safety of our good town you are proven to be subhumans. go back to your war torn lands. leave our good People in peace. you bring death where ever your cursed People go. We are sick of Paying for your free ride.”
Three families were targeted in September 2011. They were from different countries and did not know each other well. Another family was targeted in August 2012.
Police said Stevens lived in the neighborhood at the time.
At the time, the families reported no problems with any neighbors or residents. The owners of the properties were a nonprofit group and private citizens.
Groups in support of the families held “Love Your Neighbor” rallies in front of the Statehouse and in the neighborhood. A $5,000 reward was offered.
Last year, police released four samples of the graffiti — rearranging the words to convey warm greetings rather than repeat the original messages.
Police said they altered the sequence of the words to expose the handwriting without conveying the intended messages.
One said, “You are welcome here. This town has culture and hundreds of wonderful people.” Another said, “Don’t stand for this injustice.”
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