April 5, 2012
Girls admit to syrup swastikas, mother investigated
Three teenaged girls admitted to defacing a Northridge home with swastikas this week, but will not face criminal charges, according to investigators with the LAPD’s Devonshire Division. However, the mother of one girl could face a criminal charge for driving the girls to the scene.
“That is the direction of the investigation now, to find out whether or not the mother’s actions are criminal in nature,” LAPD Capt. Kris Pitcher said.
On Tuesday morning, April 3, a Northridge Jewish family awoke to find three swastikas and the word “Jew” written in maple syrup on their front walkway. The homeowner, who spoke with The Journal on condition of anonymity, said maple syrup also covered his front door as well as two cars parked in front of the home. Feces were also found near the home’s front door and toilet paper was strewn in the property’s trees.
A second nearby property was also defaced with toilet paper.
Police confirmed the three teenaged girls were responsible, but they could not be charged with a crime because the syrup, feces and toilet paper had caused no permanent damage.
“It was a very unfortunate incident, but it did not amount to a criminal act,” Devonshire Division’s Lt. Silva Atwater said.
Without a criminal charge, police also could not charge the girls with a hate crime.
“Hate crimes enhance the penalty for an already existing crime when it can be shown,” said Amanda Susskind, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League.
The girls’ actions will instead be recorded as a “hate incident.”
“It goes down in the stats and everything else, however … there is no prosecution,” Pitcher said.
The three teenage girls obliged a police request to appear at the Northridge station on April 4. They admitted to defacing the homes, and they left the station later that afternoon, Atwater said.
An LAPD press release issued after the interviews describes the defacement as “an ill-advised prank.”
Whether the mother knew what the girls’ plan was is still being investigated, Pitcher said.
The homeowner, who had initially reported that his home was in Chatsworth, said the three girls were former friends of his teenage daughter and that they attend the same school.
“What it comes down to, these are three stupid kids doing a stupid act,” he said.