Metro Weekly

Police in Indiana investigating anti-gay graffiti in Valparaiso

Police say they're continuing to investigate the incidents as "acts of criminal mischief"

Picture of the anti-gay vandalism – Photo: Valparaiso Central Neighborhood Association, via Facebook.

Police in Valparaiso, Ind., are investigating four separate incidents of vandalism, including homophobic slurs that were spray-painted across the side of a house.

In addition to the homophobic slurs and misogynistic terms, the vandals also painted pictures of male genitalia, reports the Northwest Times of Indiana. The home is occupied by renters who were out of town during the incident, according to police.

The owner of the home, Mark Forszt, says the renters are a married couple who have lived there for nine years. Forszt’s rental company, MJF Rentals, had one of their employees paint over the graffiti after police finished observing the crime scene.

It’s a shame, and things like this shouldn’t happen in Valpo,” Forszt said.

Police are also investigating three other vandalism incidents, though the graffiti at those other sites was not as graphic.

The latest vandalism incident outraged many neighbors in Valparaiso, who posted their feelings on the Central Neighborhood Association Facebook page and offered to help clean up the graffiti.

“We haven’t heard much of this happening in our neighborhood,” Bill Durnell, the president of the neighborhood association, said. “I have heard it happening elsewhere in Valparaiso including anti-gay and anti-diversity graffiti.”

Durnell added that his mother-in-law’s white car had been tagged with an offensive word across the passenger side door while it was parked overnight at St. Andrew’s Square. There was also additional graffiti on the windshield.

“We want to be safe, inclusive of all our neighbors, whether they rent or own,” Durnell said.

Valparaiso Police Sgt. Mike Grennes told the Times that police are continuing to investigate all four vandalism incidents, saying they are considered “acts of criminal mischief.” He also said that if the couple who lives in the fourth house was found to be targeted specifically because of their sexual orientation, other charges or bias enhancements could be considered.

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