Vandals used red spray paint to write racial slurs and a swastika on the side of a home in the 300 block of West Murray Street in Macomb and on the residents’ cars. Update: An arrest has been made.
5/12/15 - 9:30 a.m. - Macomb police arrested Andrew Machaj, 22, of Plainfield, for the crime. He was charged with a Hate Crime and Criminal Damage over $300. Both are felony offenses.
In a press release, the Macomb Police Department noted that, "Machaj is not a resident of Macomb and that his actions are not reflective of this community of university."
The property that was vandalized is near Western Illinois University's campus and it's rented by two Western students; one is white and the other is African-American.
The tenants told Macomb police they had kicked someone out of a house party the night before. They also fought with the person again that night at a local bar and a third time back at the home. Police were called to the scene that time, but the person left before officers arrived.
Police have not released the names of the victims, but have identified the suspect to be Andrew Machaj of Plainfield, IL. He was arrested Monday night.
Police are encouraging anyone with information to contact the Macomb Crime Stoppers website to leave anonymous tips to assist with the investigation.
Vandalism is a misdemeanor charge, but because of the racial slurs the act could be classified as a hate crime which is a Class 4 felony.
Western President Jack Thomas issued a statement saying that it his responsibility to address "this cowardly and contemptible act."
Thomas said he will not tolerate acts of prejudice, harassment and bigotry. He said that if those responsible are Western students they will be expelled.
Machaj, who was arrested for the crime, is not a student of Western Illinois University.
After learning of the arrest, President Thomas issued a statement saying, "I greatly appreciate the work of the Macomb Police Department and the City of Macomb for responding quickly and for apprehending the alleged perpetrator of this heinous act."