Racist Vandalism Shocks Aspen Run

Aspen Run Shocked By Vandalism Attacks

May 08, 1991|By Greg Tasker and Maria Archangelo | Greg Tasker and Maria Archangelo,Staff writers

ASPEN RUN — Ilene Foster has awakened two mornings this week to find Ku Klux Klan and Nazi graffiti spray-painted on her property and on the pavementin front of her home on Coon Club Road.

"This shouldn't happen anywhere at all, but for it to happen in this neighborhood is just unbelievable," Foster said. "It's the implication that it's there. Are wesafe anymore?"

The graffiti has surprised and frightened some residents of this development of well-maintained homes and lawns, which Foster described as an "upscale, educated and integrated community."

"All our kids, black and white, went to school together, played ball together," Foster said. "This is not a Jewish community. I have no idea if there are Jewish people here. It doesn't matter, though. What happened is not right. It's just not right."

The first incident occurred early Sunday. "KKK," "Hitler lives" and "Nazi" were spray-painted on a white rail fence along Coon Club Road. Swastikas, a symbol of Nazism and anti-Semitism, were spray-painted along Coon Club Road and in the driveways of several homes.

"It's kind of scary," said Dee Strasnick,who is renting from Foster and whose car was marked with the graffiti. "But I really feel it's vandalism done by kids."

State police agree, saying the vandalism appeared to be sloppy and unorganized.

"My gut feeling is that kids did this," said Tfc. Douglas Wehland, case investigator. "It was so disorganized and poorly planned."

Wehland said none of the black families in the neighborhood was a victim of the vandalism.

"If that was their target, they missed it, and they missed it pretty good," Wehland said.

The second incident occurred early Tuesday. Graffiti was spray-painted on Foster's garage door and the fence adjoining her land.

Wehland said late Tuesday he believes the vandalism is not targeted against the Aspen Run community but against some individuals.

"The symbols they used indicate some racial hatred, but we do not believe it necessarily was about race," he said.

He said the state police were investigating some leadsin the case at area high schools Tuesday, but none had panned out bylate afternoon.

Foster said she chose to alert the media about the vandalism because "if everybody keeps this hidden, this will happenagain."

Although she said Carroll County has "a real bad reputation for KKK activity," Foster also believed the vandalism was the workof teen-agers.

"This is more of a skinhead-type thing," she said."Hitler and KKK symbols don't get mixed up. You want to believe it was a bunch of delinquent kids. Healthy kids don't do these kinds of things."

Foster's son, Scott, an engineer, also expressed outrage at the incident. He pledged to support his mother's efforts to establish neighborhood watch programs in the development of 500 homes.

Susan Santiago, who lives a few doors down from Foster, was unaware of the vandalism but described the incident as "unsettling."

"It's a pretty quiet neighborhood," said Santiago, a resident of the development for three years. "To think somebody would come around and do something like that. Nothing like that has ever happened since we've beenhere."

Other neighbors, black and white, declined to comment.

"It's the first I've heard of anything like this," said Sylvester Hawkins, who has lived in Aspen Run for 12 years. "It's a quiet neighborhood. All of our kids have played and fished together here."

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