Racial slurs spray-painted in NJ neighborhood

May 14, 2012 2:20:07 PM PDT
Racist graffiti has been left on homes and cars in a historically black southern New Jersey neighborhood.

Residents say vandals hit the Saddlertown section of Haddon Township late Saturday or early Sunday. Obscenities and racial slurs were painted on at least two homes, two cars and the street.

The neighborhood was founded by a former slave in the 1850s and was a stop on the Underground Railroad for escaped slaves.

"This is the first time anything like this has happened," said Raymond Fussell, one of the victims.

An obscenity and racial slur were spray painted on his car.

"I went to bed in Haddon Township and it looked like I woke up in Mississippi. I can't picture anything like this happening here," Fussell said.

Another racial slur was spray painted on the street in front of the Temple Rhoads United Methodist Church.

It was clearly directed at the African American community here. However, the vandalism also appears to be random since two of the victims are white.

A racial slur was painted on the side of Joan McCarthy's house.

"Just really, really stunned. I don't get it, it's just cruel, whatever the reason is," McCarthy said.

An obscenity was spray painted on Helene Williams' car. She was able to have it removed by a body shop.

"As you can see they repaired the car. That doesn't do anything to repair the psyche of being violated by these people who come into our neighborhood and do something like this," said Williams.

The police believe it's the work of juveniles.

Carl Wydral said he chased three teenagers from his yard Saturday night. They ran in the direction of a vacant lot.

A neighbor cutting weeds there on Monday found an empty can of black spray paint. The police retrieved it and are hoping to be able to lift a set of fingerprints from it.

Residents are hoping they catch the culprits and throw the book at them.

"It's appalling. These are the nicest neighbors you could ask for. No one here causes any trouble, no one bothers anybody. They certainly don't deserve this," said Wydral.

Police are confident they'll be able to identify the vandals. They were apparently captured on video by surveillance cameras at the water treatment plant across the street from the church.