Sheriff’s officials Tuesday announced the arrests of three teenage boys accused of using cigarette lighters and aerosol cans to burn swastikas into a residential lawn and a nearby street in San Dimas and on another street in Covina.
The teens — a 14-year-old from Long Beach and two 13-year-olds from Hemet and Covina — were arrested on Monday, according to officials at the sheriff’s San Dimas Station.
The lawn vandalism occurred in the 1400 block of Greenhaven Street, where the homeowner on Friday “discovered a crude swastika burned into the artificial turf of his front lawn. It appeared the turf was burned with a chemical or flame,” according to a sheriff’s statement.
The same day, deputies discovered similar swastikas “burned on the surface of the asphalt roadway nearby on Valley Center Street in unincorporated Covina,” according to the sheriff’s department. “On Sunday … a similar swastika was found burned onto the asphalt street in the 1200 block of Stratford Lane, San Dimas. Investigators also learned of three small brush fires to the north of 801 W. Covina Blvd., San Dimas, and that a security camera there had been vandalized in this time frame.”
The three teens had been seen in the area around the time the crimes occurred, investigators said. The boys were located on Monday in San Dimas and a search warrant was served seeking additional evidence, according to the sheriff’s department.
“Investigators learned the fires were created using cigarette lighters and flammable aerosol cans,” according to the sheriff’s department. “Statements from witnesses and the boys themselves, evidence and video from security cameras connected the three boys to these crimes. Potential charges include those related to arson, hate crimes and vandalism.”
The sheriff’s department said “the investigation indicates the acts of hate, arson and vandalism were not directed at any particular person (or people).”
Homeowner Ted Ferris told the Los Angeles Times that he knew immediately what the symbols were when he looked out at the synthetic grass in front yard of his home and saw the two 3-foot-high swastikas.
Ferris, who is not Jewish, said he was puzzled why anyone would vandalize his yard in such a manner. He and his family have lived in the home for 34 years.
The boys, whose names were withheld because of their ages, were taken to juvenile hall, but their custody status was not immediately available.
The case will be submitted to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office for filing consideration.