RIVERSIDE, Ill. (WLS) -- Police are investigating after several swastikas were painted on a Riverside home on Christmas.
The home in the 300 block of Lionel Road in Riverside, Ill., was under construction, and only the framing and windows were in place. Police said someone used purple spray-paint to draw swastikas on every window. Twenty-five windows were damaged, officials said.
Detectives believe the vandalism occurred overnight December 24 into December 25. Contractors called police, who took photos, and then removed the swastikas.
"We went over to the window, and we were like, 'Oh my God. Who would do something like this?" Dave Wienke said.
"It was very sad," neighbor Laura Wienke said. "It ruined our morning to see that."
The family building the home said they were on their way back from Christmas morning Mass when they saw the vandalism.
"It was bone chilling," the homeowner who wished to be identified only as Cindy, said. "Even if it was a joke. Even if it was a bunch of kids, our children need to know that symbol is one of hatred."
Cindy and her family are Americans with family ties to India.
"A crime like this should be condemned, regardless of what ethnic or religious group is targeted. This type of attack is not an attack on one community; it is an attack on us all," Reema Kapur, executive director of the South Asian American Policy and Research Institute, said.
"This is a total shock. I feel horrible for the family and us," Maddalena Flight said.
"As this is a disgusting incident and potentially a hate crime, I have assigned detectives to work on this specific case and put any resources they need towards the possible apprehension of the suspect(s). At this time, police are working on some theories but have no solid leads. I am asking any resident of Riverside or anyone else who may know who committed this appalling crime to contact the Riverside Police Department immediately. One key piece of evidence I believe that stands out is that the spray paint used was purple," Riverside Police Chief Thomas Weitzel said.
"How the community responded, how people came together, that honestly has been phenomenal. If anything, it's deepened our desire to move there," homeowner George said.
Anyone who may have information on this crime can contact Detective Jim Lazansky at 708-447-2127
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