California man nabbed after spray-painting swastikas

24-year-old suspect nabbed after City Hall and dozens of other buildings in San Francisco Bay Area city covered with anti-Semitic graffiti.

David Rosenberg ,

Lawrence Phipps, suspected of spray-painting swastikas in Antioch, California
Lawrence Phipps, suspected of spray-painting swastikas in Antioch, California
Antioch Police Department

Authorities have arrested a suspect believed to be responsible for vandalizing roughly two dozen buildings and several cars in a Northern California city with anti-Semitic graffiti.

“Over this past weekend, our downtown area was heavily damaged by vandals,” the Antioch Police Department said in a statement Monday. “Numerous businesses and vehicles were defaced with offensive words and symbols. This criminal behavior is not reflective of our community or our beliefs. As a police department, we are aggressively investigating these crimes.”

On Tuesday, police in the city of Antioch, east of San Francisco in the Northern California Bay Area, reported that they had apprehended a suspect in connection with the investigation of hateful graffiti which had been spray-painted on more than 20 buildings in Antioch earlier this week.

The suspect was identified as 24-year-old Lawrence Phipps, a resident of Antioch.

Police said they found incriminating evidence in Phipps home linking him to the crime.

“We are pleased to report that the person responsible for the extensive vandalism to our downtown community has been arrested,” Antioch police said. “This morning, officers responded to tips from several community members identifying Lawrence Phipps, 24 years out of Antioch. A search of his residence revealed evidence connecting him to this crime.”

Some two dozen buildings were tagged with swastikas and other anti-Semitic graffiti including vulgar expressions, ABC 7 reported.

The graffiti was discovered on buildings across downtown Antioch Monday morning.

Antioch’s city hall was among the buildings hit in the wave of vandalism, along with multiple churches.

"To see these symbols and signs of hatred and racism is disappointing," said Pastor Eugene Jackson of the Church of Holy God, ABC 7 reported. Pastor Jackson’s church was among the buildings vandalized, with a swastika spray-painted on an exterior wall.

In addition to the buildings, a mural was also vandalized with swastikas.

Police have yet to declare the incident a hate crime, but have not ruled out the possibility.