Coatesville man charged in rash of racist graffiti

COATESVILLE, Pa. (WPVI) -- A man police describe as an avowed white supremacist has been arrested in connection to the outbreak of racist and neo-Nazi graffiti in Chester County.

Twenty-four-year-old George Rissell of Coatesville is in Chester County Prison on $150,000 bail.


There have been eight separate cases of racist graffiti this week in Coatesville and neighboring Valley Township.

One case occurred on the 100 block of Strode Street where Rissell lives with his mother.

Police say some of his activities were recorded on a city surveillance camera right on his own block.

"We have evidence to link him to all eight cases. He was the sole actor. And the evidence definitely links him to all eight," Coatesville Police Chief Jack Laufer said.

Police say Rissell has been in county and state prison for aggravated assaults in 2010 and 2016.

He was on their radar screen hours before he turned himself in at police headquarters Wednesday night.

"He did make a statement that where he became involved with the white supremacy movement was during his prison time," Laufer said.

"He kept to himself," neighbor Charles Townsend said. While Townsend said he was shocked to hear of Riddell's arrest, he added, "Of course, I'm never shocked what happens in West End anymore."

Other neighbors said they would never think Rissell would do such a thing.

"He seemed like a nice guy to me. He was nice. It didn't sound like he was racist or anything," neighbor Eddie Rounder said.

"I would never have guessed him. He's always in the community. Never really see him messing him with anyone. There are a lot of blacks in this neighborhood, so you wouldn't think he would light that fire," Jeffrey Scott said.

While each of the charges against Rissell are misdemeanors, police say, combined with his parole violations, his latest acts of vandalism could earn him substantial time back in state penitentiary.
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