BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Buffalo police are looking for the graffiti vandal or vandals who left an SUV covered in racist, homophobic, anti-Semitic and pro-President Trump messages in North Buffalo. Police say they are investigating this as a potential hate crime.
The vandalism happened sometime between 7 p.m. Wednesday and 7 a.m. this morning in the 200 block of Saranac Avenue, police said.
The owner of a 2004 BMW found his vehicle spray painted with swastikas and hate-filled messages against Black and gay people.
"Vote 4 Trump" and "Trump 4 President" were also spray painted across the vehicle, and the windshield had been smashed.
Buffalo Police Captain Jeff Rinaldo tells 7 Eyewitness News someone also poured sugar in the gask tank with the intent of causing damage to the engine.
Five local police departments, the Erie County Sheriff, and University at Buffalo and Buffalo State police self-reported 75 hate crimes to New York State from 2014-2018, according to NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services data.
Erie County District Attorney John Flynn prosecuted two hate crimes in four years, both occurring within the past year.
The most recent is a Franklinville man accused of showing a knife and yelling racial slurs at protesters during a Black Lives Matter march on Hertel Avenue in August.
“So we’ve had potentially two within the past couple weeks, so obviously that’s an increase," he said. "Now from an analytical, statistical point of view, is two enough to say I’ve got a problem, probably not.”
Buffalo's FBI Field office said it has not seen an uptick in hate crime complaints in Western New York.
Anyone with information is asked to call or text the Buffalo Police Department's confidential tipline at 847-2255.