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Neighbor arrested after California home being sold vandalized with anti-Asian graffiti

The racist messages were spray-painted onto a realtor sign and garage door outside a home that was in the process of being sold, the San Leandro Police Department said.
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Police in San Leandro, California, arrested a 25-year-old on Monday on suspicion of vandalizing a neighbor's home with anti-Asian graffiti.

The incident, which occurred over the weekend, saw racist messages spray-painted onto a realtor sign and garage door outside a neighborhood home that was in the process of being sold.

Nicholas Swyers was arrested without incident at around 1:30 a.m. Monday on suspicion of a hate crime, the San Leandro Police Department said in a press release.

Police said Swyers lives on the same block as the home that was targeted. The home was “in the process of being sold,” they said, with the homeowners, realtor and most recent tenants all being of Asian descent.

The police department said officers first responded to the scene at around 9 p.m. Saturday and found that the realtor sign had been spray-painted with an anti-Asian slur.

They returned at around 7 a.m. Sunday and found the garage door of the same residence had been spray-painted with the same message.

The department said evidence uncovered during the execution of a search warrant appeared to link Swyers to the vandalism.

“This is an unfortunate reminder that hate and racism do exist,” Lt. Matthew Barajas said.

“But, this is also a reminder that the San Leandro Police Department will unequivocally not stand for this behavior and dedicate the necessary resources to bring these perpetrators to justice.”

The case is expected to be presented to the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office on Tuesday, the San Leandro Police Department said.

The incident comes amid a rise in hate crimes in the U.S., including those targeting the Asian American community.

An analysis of hate crime data published earlier this year by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism found that anti-Asian hate crimes had risen by 339 percent last year compared with the year before.

The surge was part of an overall 11 percent increase in suspected hate crimes reported to police across a dozen of the largest cities in the country. The report found that Black Americans remained the most targeted group in most cities.