Someone in Concord, N.H., was making life miserable for several refugee families from Africa, scrawling hostile, racist graffiti in magic marker on the sides of their homes. The families were all friendly and law-abiding and never experienced trouble with neighbors, so ever since the hate-filled writings first appeared in September of 2011, the identity of the writer stumped police.
That is, until one clever police investigator had a hunch. Would the author of the racist diatribes be likely to also be a gun owner? Concord detective Wade Brown figured it was worth a shot, so he combed trough 1,500 concealed-carry handgun permit applications looking to see if any of the gun owners had handwriting that looked like the hateful scribblings.
The answer, he found, was yes — yes it did. An application filed by Raymond “Raynard” Stevens of Pembroke, N.H. contained handwriting whose letters bore a strong resemblance to the repugnant graffiti.
Among the statements scrawled on the walls of the African families's houses were such rants as, “You are not welcome here this town was a wonderful crime free place for hundreds of years. Your subhuman culture has already brought many crimes linked to your mud people. We are sick of Paying for you to live here. go back to your hell and leave us alone.”
Another read, “you have proven to be subhumans. go back to your war torn lands.”
Stevens, it turned out, was an amiable-seeming tattoo artist and owner of the Tattoomb shop in Nashua, N.H. His picture is at right. Watch a video of Stevens introducing his shop, below.
Two forensic handwriting tests matched the racist scrawlings to Stevens handwriting. Then a search of Stevens social media activity demonstrated that he held personal beliefs similar to those expressed in the harassing graffiti.
On Stevens Facebook page, cops found racist cartoons and “disturbing and violent” comments about black people an other minority groups.
An ex-girlfriend of the tattoo artist told cops that Steves belonged to white supremacist groups he came in contact with when he resided in Connecticut. She also said that he bragged about spray-painting Nazi swastikas on a Jewish synagogue, breaking the window of a shop owned by a minority businessman and other racist acts.
Stevens was arrested Tuesday morning on felony criminal mischief charges and is held in lieu of $8,000 bail.
Concord Police Chief John Duval was careful to note that Stevens was not being prosecuted because of his personal views, however repulsive those views may be.
“The person who wrote these messages could openly debate their views in a public forum, and it would not be a crime,” Duval said at a press conference. “But to trespass on private property in the middle of the night and write a hateful message causing fear, anxiety and substantial financial loss to innocent victims is not only a cowardly act, it is a felony-level offense.”
SOURCES: Nashua Telegraph, Los Angeles Times, YouTube