Mickey Rooney Offers Aid to Repaint Black Couple's Vandalized Home

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Entertainer Mickey Rooney offered Tuesday to pay for the repainting of a black couple's Agoura Hills home that was vandalized last month by intruders who painted red swastikas and racial epithets on the walls.

Retired landscape designer Szebelski L. Freeman, 68, declined to accept money to clean up his house, but said he would put it into a reward fund he has established for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the vandals.

Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies have not made any arrests in the case.

In addition to spray-painting the walls, the intruders slashed chairs and curtains, destroyed photographs and appliances, overturned an aquarium and placed the fish in a bowl filled with manure. Damaged was estimated at $15,000 to $20,000.

It was the second time in two years that the home of Freeman and his wife had been vandalized.

In a statement released by his publicist on Tuesday, Rooney offered to pay for new interior paint, but the publicist said Rooney will allow the money to be placed in the reward fund.

"It sickens me to see people like the Freemans suffering this way," Rooney said in the statement. "We fought World War II to wipe swastikas off the face of the Earth. I think everyone has to do his or her share to see that hate crimes are wiped out as well."

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