Swastika incident in Sarver under FBI review

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The FBI and Buffalo Township police are investigating whether any federal laws were violated after a Sarver family found a swastika burned into their lawn Wednesday.

When his stepson's pickup truck was vandalized on Tuesday, John Namey chalked it up to some misguided kids horsing around. But after discovering the swastika, he began to suspect his oldest daughter was being targeted because she is gay.

"We don't raise our kids to hate or treat people differently because of who they are," Mr. Namey, 42, said. "That's not something we're used to being around."

Mr. Namey added that his family is not Jewish.

According to FBI spokeswoman Kelly Kochamba, the FBI is reviewing the case.

Mr. Namey said the Buffalo Township police, who could not be immediately reached for comment, are treating the swastika incident as a hate crime.

Mr. Namey's 16-year-old, the oldest of his three daughters, has been the subject of repeated bullying because of her sexual orientation, he said. The bullying started to become a problem when she came out about three years ago and it got so bad that she became uncomfortable riding the bus to school.

"She's a little more open with her sexuality -- of course that sheds a spotlight on her," Mr. Namey said. "She kind of just takes it in stride," referring to the swastika incident. "She's not going to let that change who she is."

On Tuesday, the silver Chevy Silvarado Mr. Namey's 16-year-old stepson uses to drive his daughter to school, was covered with coins that were glued in the shape of a middle finger followed by the letter "u" and followed by an exclamation point, according to Mr. Namey. The word "think" was also scratched into the paint.

The truck was covered in pink paint and had "tobacco spit juice" dumped in the back. "We were just kind of dumbfounded," Mr. Namey said.

But the swastika incident is one he's taking more seriously. "This latest one was more severe. It's a hate thing."

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Alex Zimmerman: azimmerman@post-gazette.com or 412-263-3909 or on Twitter @AGZimmerman First Published July 5, 2013 12:15 AM


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