Investigation Into Burning Crosses Continues Outside North Carolina
Posted June 1, 2005 7:08 a.m. EDT
DURHAM, N.C. — One week after three crosses were discovered burning in Durham, investigators have yet to make any arrests in the case. Federal agents said, however, they have been receiving a steady stream of tips because of the attention.
"The response from the community is outstanding," said FBI spokesman Greg Baker.
While the burned crosses and fliers found at one of the sites are in Washington D.C. for forensic testing, federal agents and Durham police continue to look for information by canvassing the neighborhoods around the cross burning sites.
"There were a significant number of items recovered at all three scenes," Baker said.
Federal agents said they are also looking for clues outside of Durham and outside of North Carolina.
"There have been other incidents throughout the country, and we're using FBI headquarters to see if there are similarities or comparisons," Baker said.
The FBI handles an average of 20 hate crime cases each year in North Carolina.
Shaw University sociology professor Dr. Ali Al-Taie said Montana, New York and California have the highest incidents of hate crimes. And while the number of hate crimes escalated in the 1990s, they have remained at a steady rate the last five years.
"The umbrella cause for hate crimes is ignorance," Al-Taie said.
In Durham, community members said they hope the cross burnings will serve as a learning experience for everyone, and ignorance will no longer be an excuse.
The FBI also announced Wednesday that it is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. One day earlier, the Office of the Governor announced a $10,000 reward. Durham County Commissioner Lewis Cheek is offering a $1,000 reward.
Anyone with information should call Durham CrimeStoppers at
, the Durham Police Department's Special Operations Division at
, or the FBI at