'Fag' spray-painted onto a Cambria man's house

Authorities call repeated vandalism a hate crime

ktanner@thetribunenews.comSeptember 16, 2011 

Someone spray painted “fag from 432" on a Cambria home in 2011.

KATHE TANNER — ktanner@thetribunenews.com

Anti-gay slurs were spray-painted on a Cambria house three times this week, shaking the community known for its openness and inclusion.

It’s the community’s first hate crime in recent memory, according to Sheriff’s Department officials.

Volunteers from American Legion Post No. 432 have twice helped the male victim — a member of the post — paint over the slurs, one of which read “fag from 432.” The other two simply read “fag.”

One furious legion member, Post Cmdr. Greg Sanders, called the criminal a “goddamned coward.”

After the vandalism was discovered Wednesday, Sheriff’s Cmdr. Aaron Nix said “any crime in which anybody is being harassed because of their race, sexual orientation or gender is obviously reprehensible. We’ll pursue it diligently.”

It was the second and third incidents, which occurred Thursday night, that could qualify the vandalism as a hate crime.

A detective has been assigned to investigate, Nix said. The victim is also taking steps to protect his property in the upper Park Hill neighborhood.

“If anybody has information on this crime, we’d love to have it,” Nix said. “Call 781-4550, and you’ll be directed to a Coast Station deputy.”

J.D. Cronin, the senior deputy who took the original call Wednesday, helped remove the spray paint later that day. It didn’t work at first; the 35-year-old garage door is unstained wood, so a crew of volunteers applied stain to the door because it was the only way to remove the insults.

Late Thursday night, the house was targeted again. “Fag” was sprayed high on the newly stained garage door. And then a third time, when the victim was away from home later that night, the same word appeared, lower on the same door.

The hardest part for the victim, who said he’s suffered related incidents in the past ranging from vitriolic letters and calls to a broken window in his truck, was that his home was targeted.

“This time, he attacked my home,” the man said.

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