Five Texas Teens Identified in Homophobic Vandalism Spree

Police in Arlington, Texas have identified five teenagers and arrested one for their alleged role in over a dozen anti-gay vandalisms.

The teenagers, ranging in age from 16 to 18, allegedly committed at least thirteen acts of vandalism in a single night, as San Diego Gay & Lesbian News reports:

During the night of June 9, 13 properties in an Arlington neighborhood was targeted by vandals. One of those 13 homes was headed by a same-sex couple, and their parked car featured a sticker showing two moms, a child and a dog. The couple found the slurs “faggot” and “queers” spray-painted in large letters on the back of their car.

The Dallas Voice has more from the lesbian couple whose car was vandalized:

Kim Lovering said she and her partner were woken up by police early Sunday morning, June 10. Neighbors had already called police but she said her family was unaware of the vandalism to their SUV. She said she was grateful her son, not yet 2, was too young to understand what happened.

Arlington police said the correlation between the bumper stickers on the SUV and the anti-gay slurs indicates that this act of vandalism was a hate crime, as CBS Dallas-Ft. Worth reports:

Police say they will list the incident as a hate crime in the Uniform Crime Report sent to the FBI and prosecutors will be left to determine whether or not the case should be prosecuted as such, according to Texas law.

“We are committed in Arlington to prevent all crime especially crime that was committed for no other reason than possibly toward hatred,” said Chief Johnson. “We want to send a strong message to the community that this type of behavior will not be tolerated.”

Ft. Worth teenager Daniel Sibley, age 18, was arrested on Tuesday for his alleged involvement in the vandalism and is currently in custody on a $2,500 bond. Four other teenagers have been identified and are expected to turn themselves in to authorities.

The Arlington police have received accolades nationwide for their handling of the hate crime, as as CBS Dallas-Ft. Worth reports:

Thomas Anable, president of the non-profit activist group Fairness Fort Worth, is commending Arlington police for their work on the case.

“I can’t say enough about how well the Arlington Police Department handled this. It is absolutely textbook perfect,” he said.

Early Wednesday the Human Rights Campaign – the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization – also applauded Arlington police for “responding swiftly and thoroughly.”