A man has been arrested and accused of spray-painting a racial slur and other hate messages on several Hastings houses, a car and a garage last week, police said Friday.
The 19-year-old Hastings man was apprehended Thursday based on tips to police from citizens as well as surveillance images from a Hastings store, where the suspect bought cans of spray paint less than 10 hours earlier that were the same colors used in the vandalism, said Chief Paul Schnell.
"The motive is unclear," said Schnell, who has talked with the suspect and added that he confessed. "He had been drinking at the time. When he talked, he felt bad about what had happened."
Schnell said the man is expected to be charged with property damage exceeding $1,000, a felony.
The graffiti included a racial slur against blacks, even though none of about six houses that were targeted with the red and black paint are home to black residents.
Other messages included "hate rules" and "hail Satan."
The vandalism was concentrated in an area around Forest Street and W. 18th Street, where police were called overnight on Dec. 3, Schnell said.