‘It’s judgement day’: GR locals say graffiti message is a hate crime

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich - The Ball Park Party store is cleaning up after vandals tagged the side of the building this week with a message reading, 'It's judgement day.'

Graffiti is nothing new in the city but employees tell FOX 17 News the owners are from Iraq, and believe the message could be a hate crime. However, police are not so sure.

Lt. Terry Dixon with GRPD says the crime was first reported Wednesday at 8:22 a.m. when a passerby first saw the message on the store wall located at 1157 W. Fulton St. Security cameras were in use during the time of the crime but there wasn't one pointed towards the tagged wall. Police are investigating it as malicious destruction of property.

"At this time, we have no reason to believe this is a hate crime," said Lt. Dixon during a phone interview. "There's no probable cause or evidence that suggests that."

Since then, employees have been trying to cover up the message with fresh paint. Neighbors we spoke with say they're disgusted with the message, and even though this isn't the first time the property's been vandalized, they believe the motive is clear.

"Because they're from the Middle East, but if you really get to know these guys, they're great guys," said Craig Winstanley, maintenance man at the Ball Park Party Store. "Who cares where they're from or whatever, ya know? That don't make no difference. We're all human."

If you have any information you're being asked to call police or Silent Observer at (616) 774-2345.

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