Swastika tagged on garage, ‘neo nazi’ on car; investigators determining if families targeted

Police are investigating after two Greenwood families woke up to a swastika and the words “neo nazi” painted on a home and vehicle this weekend.

Investigators aren’t sure if the residents were targeted, but in both cases interracial couples were involved, according to police reports.

On Sunday morning, police were called to two neighborhoods about a mile apart near Worthsville Road, west of U.S. 31, according to Greenwood police reports.

Just before 9:15 a.m., an officer was called to the 3100 block of Lodgepole Drive, in the Southern Pines neighborhood, where a resident had found a large swastika spray painted on the garage door, the report said. Officers also talked to the neighbors across the street, a black man and white woman, whose front window looks directly at the other home’s garage door, the report said.

About an hour and a half later, police were called to a nearby home in the 1800 block of Blue Lake Drive in the Barton Lakes neighborhood, where a resident reported someone spray painted “neo nazi” on her vehicle, the report said. The residents are a white woman and a Hispanic man and their children, the report said.

Now, police are investigating to determine if the vandals targeted the families, Greenwood Police Department Assistant Chief Matt Fillenwarth said.

Police also were called to a vandalism report Sunday afternoon in the Barton Lakes neighborhood, where a vehicle was spray painted, but with an image of male genitalia, according to the reports.

But if the vandalism was racially motivated, that changes what police are investigating from people being destructive to residents being targeted because of their ethnicity, Fillenwarth said.

“Right now, we’re not for sure, but we’re not going to take any chances,” Fillenwarth said.

Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers called the incidents disheartening and disappointing.

“We want people to know that Greenwood welcomes everyone,” Myers said.

Investigators have spoken to officials from the schools the children living in the homes attend to ask about any issues there.

At the home on Lodgepole Drive, police have found at least two homes with surveillance cameras. Investigators have been reviewing the videos, and found one home captured what police believe is the vehicle involved — likely a black Chevy Cruze — stopping in front of the home, four people getting out and then leaving within a couple minutes. A neighbor also reported seeing a vehicle stop in front of the home and three to four people wearing masks got out but left when he opened his blinds, the police report said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Greenwood Police Department at 317-865-0300.

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Annie Goeller is managing editor of the Daily Journal. She can be reached at agoeller@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2718.