THOUSAND OAKS : Volunteers Remove Racist Graffiti

Racist graffiti sprayed onto an African-American minister's house in Thousand Oaks last week has been removed by volunteers who said they did not like what they saw.

Vandals had spray-painted swastikas and a racial slur on the garage and front door of a house owned by the Rev. Kenneth Bushnell, a high-ranking Seventh-day Adventist minister.

On Monday, Student Works Painting, a Thousand Oaks company, donated labor and materials to remove the graffiti, paint over the swastikas and slogan, and refinish the wooden front door marred by spray paint, Bushnell said.

Britten Zobelein, president of the company of college student painters, said he and two co-workers volunteered for the four-hour cleanup after seeing news reports of the attack on Bushnell's house.

"I'd never seen something like this before and it bothered me to think someone could get away with it," Zobelein said Tuesday. "It's unfortunate that things like this happen."

Bushnell said he was grateful for the work to restore his house, which has been sprayed with graffiti three times since February. "This is what I've found to be typical of the response of the community. "Several people have offered to come and help."

Meanwhile, Ventura County sheriff's deputies said that without tips or physical evidence other than the graffiti, it will be difficult to solve the hate crime.

"It's hard to draw up a list of suspects unless you have informants who can come through and say, 'Hey, they did it,' " Detective Debbie DeMattia said.

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