Police arrested a Toronto man over hate-motivated mischief and vandalism in which he destroyed a dozen vehicles belonging to a diverse group of people, including immigrants from Poland, Syria, Vietnam, Canada and the U.S.
Scott Lawrence, 50, has been charged with mischief over $5,000, vandalism under $5,000 and uttering threats, Toronto police told Fox News.
The damage happened between Jan. 11 and Feb. 7. It cost more than $140,000 to clean up the damage, The Toronto Star reported.
Investigators said Lawrence intimidated victims through graffiti, telling one woman, “Jews will burn in hell and the black devil will eat your face off.”
“The vast majority of these individuals were not intentionally targeted because of their race, nationality, religion or sexual orientation,” David Ebert, chief superintendent of the Toronto Police Service, told the newspaper. “Some were specifically targeted because they were Muslim or Somali and other members of the community.”
The vandalism was only one piece of a larger display of hate in the past two years against religious and immigrant communities, The Toronto Star reported. In 2017, nearly half of all hate crimes targeted members of the Islamic faith.
According to the Canadian Federation of Muslims, the recent vandalism was one of several hate-related incidents that targeted the community in the past year and a half.
When asked what messages he believed Lawrence was targeting, police said the suspect threatened to harm people in Muslim garb. The graffiti found on cars in four different neighborhoods read “You will pay for what you have done,” “Bring back Jesus,” “Donald Trump supporter is a terrorist” and “no white man is going to be able to (expletive) you.”
It is against the law to target people because of their race, religion or sexual orientation.