VALPARAISO — Police are investigating four incidents of vandalism overnight, including homophobic, misogynistic terms spray-painted across the entire length of the side of a home in the 600 block of Walnut Street.
In addition to offensive terms, vandals also painted pictures of male genitalia.
The home is occupied by renters who were out of town during the incident, Valparaiso police Sgt. Mike Grennes said.
It was one of four vandalism incidents reported to police Monday morning. Others included a car and a commercial building and apartment building.
The graffiti in the other three incidents was not as graphic, Grennes said.
The vandalism led to multiple postings of outrage on the Central Neighborhood Association Facebook page Monday morning and offers to help clean up the graffiti.
"We haven't heard much of this happening in our neighborhood," said Bill Durnell, president of the neighborhood association. "I have heard it happening elsewhere in Valparaiso including anti-gay and anti-diversity graffiti."
Durnell said his mother-in-law's white car also was tagged with an offensive word while it was parked overnight at St. Andrew's Square. The word was written in black spray-paint across the car's passenger side. There was other spray-painting on the windshield, but Durnell said he couldn't decipher what was written.
"We want to be safe, inclusive of all our neighbors, whether they rent or own," Durnell said.
The owner of the home, MJF Rentals, responded quickly to the home. An employee worked on painting over the graffiti by late Monday morning.
Mark Forszt, owner of the home, said the people who rent the house are a married couple and have lived in the home for nine years.
"It's a shame, and things like this shouldn't happen in Valpo," Forszt said.
Grennes said police are continuing to investigate the incidents. He said they are considered acts of criminal mischief. If it is found that the family living in the home was targeted with the particular specific remarks, other charges could be considered. Grennes said they have not been able to reach the residents as of Monday afternoon.
Grennes would like anyone who saw anything or knows anything of the incidents to contact Valparaiso police at 219-462-2135 or text information to Tip411 (847-411). Place the key word "Valpo" in the message field prior to sending the information.