By Eric Heinz
Symbols and monikers linked to anti-Semitism were found spray-painted early Sunday morning, Aug. 19, on several buildings of the Shorecliffs Middle School campus in San Clemente, according to San Clemente Police Services.
The incident occurred between 1-1:30 a.m., and the school, located at 200 Via Socorro, was vandalized in multiple areas with Anti-Semitic graffiti, “causing thousands of dollars in damages,” Police Services stated on Facebook on Sunday. “The possible suspect was captured on video.”
Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) said video/picture posts from surveillance footage it published on social media platforms helped sheriff’s deputies identify and apprehend a suspect, OCSD stated on Twitter on Tuesday, Aug. 21.
The suspect, 20-year-old Kyle Hackett, was identified with the assistance of people who notified police after seeing those posts.
“Thanks to an engaged community and quick work by investigators, a man suspected of vandalizing a San Clemente middle school with hate-inspired graffiti is in custody,” OCSD stated in a press release.
Hackett was arrested on Monday, Aug. 20, on felony vandalism and one count of a misdemeanor hate crime.
Lt. Mike Peters, the San Clemente chief of police, said the symbols included swastikas and other Nazi-related images.
The incident, which took place days before the school’s first day of the 2018-19 school year, is still under investigation.
Carrie Braun, a public affairs official with OCSD, said it is not clear whether Hackett is associated with a hate group, but being part of one could elevate the alleged offenses.
According to the OCSD Who’s in Jail website, Hackett posted bond and was released Tuesday morning, Aug. 21.
Peters said the Graffiti was removed from the various Shorecliffs Middle School buildings later in the day on Sunday.
Anyone with information related to this incident is asked to call 949.770.6011 or report anonymously at OC Crime Stoppers, 1.855.847.6227, or send Police Services a private message on Facebook or stop by the San Clemente Substation, located at 100 Avenida Presidio, in San Clemente.