JEFFERSON PARK — A Far Northwest Side family’s home has been targeted with property damage and hateful vandalism on five occasions since May.
The family, who moved to their home near Bryn Mawr and Milwaukee avenues less than a year ago, said a man has repeatedly damaged their Pride flag; spray painted conservative, far-right slogans on their garage and left political harassment on their property, the family said.
The incidents began at the end of May with damage to the family’s progressive Pride flag, which sits on their front porch alongside a Michigan University flag, said homeowner Erica Hungerford.
The man “came out and cut our Pride flag in half but not the Michigan flag,” Hungerford said.
The family got a camera for their porch. During the Fourth of July weekend, the vandalism occurred again, Hungerford said.
The man walked up to the camera, waved at it and again cut the family’s Pride flag in half, Hungerford said.
In the middle of August, video captured a man on the porch again as he left a banana with the words “Impeach OBiden and Hack Harris” scribbled in Sharpie, which Hungerford thinks could be a threat.
A “Let’s Go Brandon” sticker was also plastered on their garage the same night. The sticker gained popularity last year among conservative circles who use it in place of saying, “F— Joe Biden.”
On Sept. 10, the man returned and spray-painted “I heart MAGA” on the family’s garage.
The latest incident occurred last weekend, when the man spray-painted the Pride flag orange and started to spray paint the garage again. Hungerford thinks the message was supposed to say MAGA but the man ran out of paint, as only the letters “M” and “A” were written, she said.
The family has alerted police of the continued attacks. They think it’s the same man targeting them for their progressive political beliefs, they said.
The family had no political stickers or signs on their lawn directly referring to the president, but after Roe v. Wade was overturned, Hungerford put up a “F— SCOTUS” sign, she said.
The family thinks the man lives nearby and hope the community can help identify him.
In all of the videos, the man is seen wearing a light raincoat, a baseball cap and a face mask or gray bandanna over his face.
The vandalism always seems to occur 2-5 a.m. Fridays or Saturdays, said Hungerford’s husband, Peter Charnley.
Police only had a report for a hate-crime-related criminal damage incident that occurred 3:47 a.m. Saturday at the residence, spokesperson Anthony Spicuzza said.
Charnley is working with detectives, but they have not been much help, he said. He wants to confront the man and tell him to stop vandalizing their home.
The family has had to replace their Pride flag three times and clean the vandalism, but the attacks won’t deter them from being outspoken about their views, they said.
“We are not going to be intimidated,” Hungerford said. “I hope this is an extra nudge for the police to check the area.”
The neighborhood has seen other politically charged vandalism in recent years. Over the summer, a man targeted two businesses along North Milwaukee Avenue with spray-painted swastikas. In summer 2021, a woman drove over a Jefferson Park family’s lawn and partially destroyed it in an attack that was politically motivated.
Since Hungerford posted about the incidents on social media this week, Jefferson Park neighbors have rallied around the family, sharing supportive and positive messages, she said.
Beautification plans for the family’s home are in the works to deter the man from defacing their property again and to send him a message, Hungerford said.
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