COCONUT CREEK, FLA. (WSVN) - A South Florida homeowner woke up to find upsetting vandalism scrawled across the front of his home and car, and he believes he knows the culprit.
The car parked in the driveway had anti-Semitic messages and homophobic and racial slurs spray-painted on it.
Homeowner Ben Siegel said Coconut Creek Police notified him about the vandalism Wednesday morning.
He said he felt sick to his stomach upon seeing the messages.
“They used some kind of thing, and there’s gouges all the way through them,” Siegel said. “Look, you could see the metal shavings. You can’t even repaint. It’s gonna need some new panels completely. It’s ruined.”
Andrew, a neighbor who was driving by, noticed the spray-painted messages and then called 911.
“When I passed the car I saw the N-word, but I just thought it was graffiti, so I reversed, and I read what it says,” Andrew said.
Siegel has been deeply hurt by this incident. “I felt like I was gonna throw up, and I started crying,” he said. “This is the first car I ever bought, I worked the hardest for.”
The vandalized car was the only one parked in his driveway Tuesday night, and Siegel said it was his favorite.
“It only has 48,000 miles on it. It’s totally customized by me,” he said.
Andrew said something like this shouldn’t be happening in his neighborhood.
“Called the police so they could come out and investigate. It’s embarrassing, ridiculous,” he said. “I’ve never seen this in 15 years, living in Coconut Creek. You see it on TV. You don’t think it would hit home.”
Siegel told 7News that he thinks another neighbor is responsible.
That neighbor, Brandon Kittendorf, drove up while 7News cameras were rolling and captured the exchange between the two.
Siegel could be seen mockingly initiating the Nazi salute as he said, “Remember that? Remember that, buddy?”
When asked if he showed him the Hitler salute, Kittendorf said, “Nope.”
“I’m married to a Puerto Rican, we have a diverse family,” Kittendorf said. “I don’t even know what that word means. Somebody defamed his house. I didn’t do it.”
According to Kittendorf, the two had a business deal in 2014 that went sour, and they are now involved in a lawsuit.
Siegel said the subject is someone who knew him and knew private details about his life. “My girlfriend is black. No one even knows that because she’s a very private person. She doesn’t like me to put stuff up publicly, but she’s my girl, and I love her,” Siegel said. “He’s the only one that sees her come in and out every day.”
For those who live in the neighborhood, like Andrew, this has gone too far. “If you have a problem, come to that person,” Andrew said. “Why do you gotta resort to the ignorance of writing racial slurs? What does a racial slur have to do with the issue with a person?”
Surveillance cameras at the house were spray painted, so police do not have much to go by.
Police are investigating this case as a hate crime.
If you know or saw something, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $3,000 reward.
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