HOMERVILLE, Ohio (WJW) — Authorities are investigating a series of crimes targeting Amish families that began five months ago, wondering if they rise to the level of hate crimes.
Medina County Sheriff’s Office Detective Sgt. Larry Covey said the first reported incident was in April, but it appears the crimes have increased in recent weeks.
Authorities learned of windows being shattered at buildings and homes. Other property damage was reported as a result of objects being thrown from the road.
“The deputies that have arrived on the scene have found everything from railroad spikes, the long heavy railroad spikes, water bottles with rocks in them, just kind of random odd objects that are thrown normally from the roadway through a window or up onto a porch or somewhere that it’s causing damage,” Covey said.
At least fourteen incidents have been reported, some through third parties. Some of them were reported well after they happened because the Amish typically keep to themselves.
The owner of a lumber yard where windows were smashed with rocks and the rear window of a front-end loader was shattered did not want to go on camera but told Nexstar’s WJW he reported the damage because he wanted it to stop.
“I couldn’t even give you an exact count because so many people don’t report it. Its just, it happened and they move on with their life. There could easily be more,” Covey said.
Investigators are also questioning the motive as potentially arising these incidents to hate crimes.
“We have no other reports from anyone else in the area. Its all been Amish, so it seems to be focused on that particular group,” Covey said. “Ohio says if it’s a crime based on religion then it can fall on that.”
The concern, particularly with railroad spikes and anchors being thrown, is that eventually someone on the inside of a window is going to be hurt.
So far, investigators have only vague descriptions of vehicles seen in the area at the time of these crimes. The victims do not have surveillance or doorbell cameras that authorities can typically use to help them in their investigations.
Detectives want anyone who knows anything about these crimes and who can help identify those responsible to call the Medina County Sheriff’s Office at 330-725-0028.