Rock-wielding vandals shattered a glass door at the front of the Anaheim Korean Presbyterian Church in the second attack in as many weeks.
Church officials believe Monday’s incident was racially motivated and related to a Nov. 13 attack in which disparaging messages, including “Get out now,” were written in chalk on a church sidewalk and office blackboard.
Anaheim police say both incidents have the characteristics of hate crimes, but are being investigated as vandalism until more evidence can be obtained.
Lt. Jack Parra said detectives were interviewing residents in the neighborhood Thursday, and the Korea Central Daily newspaper in Garden Grove has been asked by police to pass on any information they may receive on the source of the vandalism.
“On the surface, this possesses the factors of a hate crime,” Parra said. “But we have to identify what we have upfront and then go after the motive.”
Given the short time between incidents, church education director Richard Kim and police believe the acts were committed by the same individual or group.
“We have no idea who may have done this,” said Kim, a spokesman for the 350-member church on South Euclid Street. “Burglary doesn’t seem to be their interest. It’s probably racial hatred. It disturbs us.”
The church incidents are among several racial attacks reported in the last few weeks in Orange County. In Orange, a couple said vandals painted a swastika on their driveway and carved another anti-Semitic symbol on the dashboard of their car in two separate cases. And in Laguna Hills, the home of a black family was flooded and racial slurs were painted on the walls.
Rusty Kennedy, executive director of the Orange County Human Relations Commission, said the recent attacks reveal a “desperate lack of education in inter-ethnic awareness.”
“There is an increasing diversity in our urban communities,” Kennedy said. “The kindergarten through 12th-grade student population is 44% minority. That flies in the face of the old-time phenomenon that Orange County is an all-white conservative county. This is a reality that’s not going to go away. It’s a reality that we need to teach our children.”