BERKELEY, Calif. (KTVU) - Slashed tires and graffiti still remain in a South Berkeley neighborhood near UC Berkeley campus more than two weeks after someone went on a spray-painting spree. According to police, nearly 35 hate-related incidents were reported the night of June 27 into the morning of the 28.
"17 vehicles had their tires slashed. F-the police, anarchy symbols, Antifa symbols, F-white people spray painted on people's cars," says Berkeley Police Sgt. Andrew Frankel.
"One of my friends he still hasn't replaced his tires because his insurance doesn't cover it. So he still has to figure it out," says Ruben Escolero of Berkeley.
Investigators say the graffiti and verbiage used classify the case as a hate crime. Officers wouldn't say what led them to the suspect. However, Thursday night they took him into custody.
"We made an arrest in this case. 21-year-old Ismael Chamu of Los Banos. He was arrested by our detectives at his apartment in San Francisco," says Frankel.
KTVU located Chamu's Facebook page. On it, he claims to be a student at Cal, where he studies public health. Police say this isn't the first run in they've had with him. Chamu was first arrested last month, in the early morning hours when the vandalism was discovered. Police said he was in possession of an illegal 'spring-loaded" knife. Chamu wasn't charged. According to a Berkeley blog, he wrote online the night he was released from custody, that he felt officers were racially profiling him.
Now that he's behind bars again, one victim says he'll rest easier. "It was out of the blue and we didn't do anything to this person and just came and vandalized our property. So I'm happy they're off the streets," says Escolero.
Police say there may be yet another suspect. Chamu is being held on an $85,000 bail. Detectives plan to turn his case over to the District Attorney on Monday.