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Explosion at interracial couple's home treated as hate crime after swastika painted on garage

Racial slurs daubed on vehicles outside gutted house in Ohio

Peter Stubley
Friday 09 August 2019 21:14 BST
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Couple's house burnt down in a racially motivated hate crime

An explosion which destroyed the home of an interracial couple after a swastika and a racial slur were found painted on the garage, is being investigated by the FBI.

The suspected arson attack on the house of Brad and Angela Frase in the township of Sterling in Wayne County, Ohio, as a hate crime, investigators said.

Police were called to the scene by a neighbour who reported a blast and fire at the building in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Firefighters managed to extinguish the flames but the house – which was not occupied at the time – was severely damaged.

“What makes this case worse is that it appears that this case was racially motivated,” said captain Doug Hunter, of the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office. “The couple that lived in the home – a white man and a black woman – lived there for many years without any type of problems but when the fire was set the perpetrators felt the need to write racial slurs on a nearby garage.”

A video taken by police at the scene showed an attempt at the n-word and a swastika daubed on a garage next to the smoking remains of the house.

Racial slurs were also found painted on several vehicles parked nearby, according to the Ohio fire marshal.

Ms Frase told the local ABC 5 News channel that she hoped the people responsible were caught.

“It’s sickening to do this to somebody’s home and not even know if they’re home or not,” she said. “We could’ve been in there.”

Ms Frase and her husband were not living at the house at the time because repairs were being carried out following an electrical fire a month earlier.

The day before the explosion, the repair company alerted the gas company to the smell of natural gas inside the property.

Engineers discovered one of the burners on a stove had been left on but the pilot light was not lit, and the meter was removed to prevent further leaks.

A $5,000 (£4,100) reward is being offered for information about the attack.

“We are going to spare no expense when it comes to calling in resources to track down individuals that are accountable for this crime,” said captain Doug Hunter. "It is totally out of character for Wayne County to have racial crimes like this, yes they have happened in the past but only a couple of times as far as I am aware.”

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