Homeless 19-year-old charged with hate crime for Stanford swastikas

A 19-year-old homeless man has been arrested in connection with the spray-painting of hate-fueled graffiti, including swastikas, on several Stanford University housing units.

Lucas Joseph Ninow, who has no connection to the school, was arrested on June 22 and charged with one misdemeanor hate crime, one count of felony vandalism and one count of misdemeanor vandalism, according to Stanford police and the Santa Clara district attorney’s office.

Gold swastikas and anarchy symbols were found painted on the Sigma Alpha Epsilon house and two other student residences on April 26.

The Anti-Defamation League’s Central Pacific region provided assistance to police in their investigation, according to regional director Seth Brysk. The San Jose Mercury News reported that a fingerprint on a spray-paint can left behind at La Casa Italiana, one of the vandalized residences, was the clue authorities needed to crack the case. A check of an FBI database revealed that it belonged to Ninow, arrested in Mountain View, the newspaper reported.

A plea hearing at the Palo Alto courthouse scheduled for June 30 was rescheduled to July 29 at the request of Ninow’s public defender.

Anne Seery, Santa Clara County prosecutor, declined to discuss the case with the Mercury News because it was still being investigated. “A hate crime is a crime against the community, so we take these quite seriously,” Seery told the newspaper.