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Vandals Paint Racist Symbols On Hope Mills Buildings

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HOPE MILLS, N.C. — Investigators in Hope Mills are trying to find out who covered over several buildings, including a church, with graffiti.

They spray-painted racist symbols, including "KKK" and a swastika; the name of a band -- Korn; and even incomplete peace signs.

"We're a very small congregation, but very proud of our church," said Doris Luther, a member of Congregational Christian Church since 1939. "And it's just heart-breaking to see something like this happen instead of coming inside to worship."

From North Main Street to Trade Street, the vandals left their mark on a seafood restaurant, a law office, a paving business, a tractor, a UPS drop box, a tree and a racing store. Authorities say they also broke into a storage building.

Michelle Tilley works at the store where a Lance Armstrong "Live Strong" bracelet hangs in the window.

"What they basically had done was put a large 'X' over the cancer thing for Lance Armstrong," Tilley said. "(I) thought that was kind of sad."

It is especially frustrating for Luther. She serves on the town commission and has other problems to worry about, such as Hope Mills Lake and Lakeview Road.

Police do not think the crimes are gang-related, but say that teenagers were possibly involved.

Graffiti has been popping up in more and more small towns. Just last week, parks and recreation workers found graffiti at a community park in Smithfield. Police said that case could be gang-related.


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