Cross Burned Next to Black Family's California Home

FBI joins in on hate crime probe
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 23, 2011 3:01 AM CDT
Cross Burned Next to Black Family's Calif. Home
A burning cross next to the home of a black family in California evokes memories of the KKK.   (?Image Editor)

Neighbors are reeling after a large cross was burned in a lot next to the home of a black family in a mostly white California community. The 11-foot cross was stolen from a church in Arroyo Grande near San Luis Obispo. "I was horrified," said a local minister. "We live in a paradise, and I think the first thought was: This can't be real." The incident has been classified as a hate crime, the first in the region in nine years.

The FBI has joined local law enforcement in an investigation, and a $3,500 reward is being offered for information about the crime. "Any kind of hate crime is not a joke, it's not a prank," the minister told AP. "It's designed to intimidate and frighten." The identity of the black family has not been released. (Read more hate crimes stories.)

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