Reward Offered In South Bay Hate Crimes Case

One Incident In Eastlake Caused $10,000 In Damages

A $5,500 reward was announced Thursday in hopes of catching whoever is behind three vandalism incidents in Chula Vista that are considered hate crimes.

The first occurred last October, when graffiti and swastikas were scrawled on surfaces at two high schools in the Eastlake section of the city, causing about $10,000 damage, said Chula Vista police Capt. Leonard Miranda.

The next crime happened in the nighttime hours between July 31 and Aug. 1, when graffiti and swastikas were left in seven Eastlake locations, including parks, schools, a church and an apartment complex, Miranda said.

The captain said a suspect is being investigated in the second incident.

The most recent vandalism took place at Heritage Park Pediatrics in the 1300 block of E. Palomar Road on Sept. 11, he said.

Photographs of the damage showed a swastika and a profane statement directed at Mexicans.

"Let me be clear, San Diego is a community that does not and will not tolerate hate crimes," District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said.

The number of reported hate crimes in San Diego County in 2007 was down by 8 percent compared to the previous year, while the state's rate increased by 13 percent, Dumanis said.

Of the 14 cases filed by the District Attorney's Office last year that included hate crime allegations, all resulted in convictions, she said.

The reward money comes from a special fund to combat hate crimes, according to Sally Cox of San Diego County Crime Stoppers.

Tipsters with information about the Chula Vista vandalism can anonymously call Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477, Cox said.

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