SAMMAMISH, Wash. – Investigators in East King County want to know if a string of possible hate crimes could be linked.
Police in Samammish say they are now investigating more than a dozen incidents of possibly racist and anti-Semitic graffiti in the past three days.
The Sammamish police chief told Q13 News the department is so far investigating 17 reported cases. The latest happened Friday morning when a man woke up to find a swastika spray painted on his car.
“I hope it’s just a bunch of kids,” said victim Dex Montenegro. “They’re probably trying to take advantage of all the stuff going on in the media.”
Montenegro isn’t alone – other Klahanie neighbors told police of more swastikas and in some cases racially charged slurs spray painted on fences and garage doors.
Law enforcement officials in the city said they treating this as a possible hate crime.
“If you see something say something, call us,” said Chief Michelle Bennet.
Cal Dorough was on a walk during his lunch break, but he hadn’t yet seen just how offensive the graffiti had become.
“I come over here and I see a swastika and I’m like, dear lord! I didn’t really expect this hate to be in Klahani.”
Neighbors are being urged by police to not to take the law into their own hands and confront possible suspects.
Meanwhile, Montenegro can’t help but wonder if he was targeted because of who he is.
“Probably because of the color of my skin, maybe,” he said.
City officials condemned the actions earlier this week.
The crimes have galvanized neighbors on the plateau. Some are planning to attend a rally this Sunday at 4:30 at Klahanie Park to stand together in solidarity against hate in the community.