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Police: Anne Arundel County House Fire Is Actually Hate Crime

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Mike Schuh joined WJZ Eyewitness News as a general assignment reporter...
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ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — A horrifying hate crime in Anne Arundel County. A home was torched but it’s what investigators found outside the house that’s really disturbing.

Mike Schuh has more as police and fire officials search for answers.

Sexual and racial slurs were spray painted on the side of the house. That’s changed the entire scope of the investigation.

In cell phone video shot by a neighbor, you can see flames shooting out the windows of a Church Street home.

“I think there were people banging on the door and I heard banging noises,” said neighbor Roderick Lopez.

Lopez woke as other neighbors frantically tried to help the two elderly women and male caretaker who live there. Fortunately, no one was home but as the flames were doused, investigators saw something more disturbing.

“Firefighters did find what appeared to be graffiti or slanderous paintings, racial slurs and sexual slurs on the home,” said Anne Arundel County Fire Deputy Chief Michael Cox.

From Sky Eye Chopper 13, you can see the phrase “White Power” spray painted on the back deck. The other words are so offensive they can’t be shown.

Because of the words sprayed on the side of the home, Anne Arundel County police are now investigating this as a hate crime.

“It does raise suspicion or awareness with our crews. Fire investigators were called to the scene,” Cox said.

Investigators brought in an arson dog that found traces of accelerant inside the home. Now this neighborhood is on edge, wondering who set fire to this house.

“It’s terrible. I mean, it’s very surprising,” said one neighbor.

“That is a hate crime. It is an arson. That’s what’s actually frightening, to think that there’s a crazy person out here, just committing these kind of crimes,” said another.

Anyone with information on the hate crime should call Metro Crime Stoppers or the Anne Arundel County arson investigators.

The fire caused $150,000 in damage to that home.

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