By Christy McLeap

Two 16-year-old boys have been arrested in connection with racist vandalism in Norco that, according to authorities, caused about $4,000 in damage. Some of the defaced and damaged property was an elementary school, a residential garage and two vehicles.

A news release from Riverside County Sheriff’s Sgt. John Del Valle stated, “The suspects defaced and damaged property at the locations, using racial epithets and profanity, which also constituted a hate crime.”

The Press Enterprise reports that sheriff’s officials would not describe in detail the vandalism or say whether or not they believe someone specific was being targeted.

This past Sunday morning, November 13th is when deputies started getting reports of the vandalism. All of the suspects targets were in northeast Norco within about a mile of each other. A garage on Crestview Drive; a vehicle also on Crestview Drive, another vehicle on Pedley Avenue and the Riverview Elementary School, which is in the same block of Pedley Avenue.

The news release from sheriff’s officials said investigators were able to identify two 16-year-old boys they believe were responsible for the incidents. The boys were arrested on suspicion of committing a hate crime, conspiracy and vandalism and were booked into Riverside Juvenile Hall.

Sgt. John Del Valle also stated in the release that the Sheriff’s Department takes hate crimes seriously and “will be vigilant in investigating all crimes of this nature.” “Hate crimes are an attack on the rights and freedoms of community members,” “It infringes on the cultural diversity of others and takes away from the peaceful environment we all desire to live in.”

Corona-Norco Unified School District officials released a statement that said, “acts of vandalism will not be tolerated.” The school district went on to thank members of the community who reported the incident, and the Sheriff’s Department for investigating the crimes.

According to sheriff’s officials, the vandalism remains under investigation. They urge anyone that may have any additional information call the Norco sheriff’s station at 951-270-5673.


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