Local News

Nash Woman Says Racial Insults, Harassment Ended In Cross-Burning

Posted June 12, 2006 4:35 a.m. EDT

— A Nash County woman said she and her husband have been harassed with strange phone calls and racial insults, including a cross she found burning in her back yard.

Mary Few said she returned home from work on Tuesday to find the cross. Her husband's tractor had also been pulled out of a storage shed and dragged around the yard, she said.

Few said the harassment started last week when a man called asking about buying a car.

"And (my husband) didn't want to sell it and (the caller) told him, 'If you don't sell it, I'll harass you until you wish you had,'" Few said.

She also said her husband has received another call that proves to her that the cross burning in her yard was a hate crime.

"(My husband) asked (the caller) why he was harassing him, and he said, 'Because I hate ----.' That was his exact words." Few said.

Middlesex police said they have been investigating the reports.

"It started out as harassment and has gone to larceny," said Middlesex Police Chief Charles Ferrell. "And a few other little weird things have happened."

Police increased patrol of the house and had plainclothes officers stake out the Fews' back yard from the trees. Ferrell said his department is doing all that it can, but also said the case seems strange to him and that he has doubts about what is motivating the vandalism.

"At this point in time, I'm not ready to rule this as a hate crime. I'm thinking this is more of a grudge or some kind of personal vendetta-type thing," Ferrell said, pointing out that the burning object in Few's yard was not the true shape of a cross.

"It was more like a capital 'T,'" Ferrell said.

Ferrell said investigators have a few leads in the case, but nothing solid yet.

No one has been injured, but a few days ago, a police officer investigating the case was injured when he stepped on a wooden board buried under leaves that had nails out of it.

The Fews told police that they had set traps in hopes of catching whoever was responsible.