Mesa police looking into possible hate crime - East Valley Tribune: News

Mesa police looking into possible hate crime

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Posted: Tuesday, July 8, 2008 6:14 pm | Updated: 10:48 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Police are investigating a possible hate crime where a Mesa woman’s home was burglarized and spray painted with racial slurs and obscenities.

Elizabeth Williams, who lives near Country Club Drive and Brown Road, came home from work Monday about 6 p.m. and discovered electronics stolen from her home and brown spray paint covering furniture and walls.

The intruders even prepared themselves a meal. “They fixed two pizzas and had something to drink, then put the dishes in the dishwasher,” Williams said.

The single mother said she was frightened by the crime and called the police, and officers responded to her home immediately. But when crime scene investigators didn’t show up until 10 hours later to gather clues, she became anxious.

“It was scary, and I was upset,” Williams said.

Williams said she was told she was on a list for crime scene investigators.

Williams called her friend to come sit with her; Williams was told not to touch the evidence until investigators were finished.

When a technician finally arrived at her house hours later, “I hadn’t been to bed,” Williams said. She said the investigator spent hours gathering clues and did a thorough job, so she hopes the case will be solved.

The graffiti “used very, very inappropriate language, and the 'N’ word is pretty prevalent,” Williams said. “My neighbors are very concerned, we’re the only African-Americans in the area ... we’ve lived here 10 years.”

Detective Chris Arvayo, Mesa police spokesman, said Wednesday that the length of time that passed before a crime scene investigator arrived was “unacceptable.”

Arvayo said police are still trying to determine if hate was the motive for the crime or if it was burglary. There are no suspects, but detectives are following up on leads, Arvayo said.

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