MANSFIELD - Police are investigating why at least 16 Bibles containing racial slurs on the inside cover were left on the front porches of several black families in the vicinity of Friendly House, 380 N. Mulberry St.
Nine King James Holy Bibles were recovered Monday morning when a resident called in the complaint, according to the Mansfield Police Department. Six more were found by police canvassing the area Wednesday on porches on North Mulberry and Springmill streets and Vale Avenue.
Some of the homes where Bibles were found were vacant, but police said they believe the culprit purposefully skipped over the homes of white families in the area.
"There were two houses along the same street where white families reside, however there were no items left on those properties," the police report states.
Authorities said they believe the Bibles were dropped off sometime Sunday, Capt. Ken Coontz said.
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Police are classifying the act as ethnic intimidation, meaning the racial slur was meant to threaten and intimidate residents, Coontz said. Those responsible could face menacing charges, a fourth-degree misdemeanor. If tied to ethnic motivations, the charge could increase the offense to a third-degree misdemeanor, or up to 60 days in jail, he said.
Police said they believe the Bibles may have been taken from a nearby church. Victims said the books smelled musty, like they had been kept in a basement, Coontz said.
By: Kaitlin Durbin/Mansfield News Journal
Gannett/Mansfield News Journal