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07-22-2007, 03:59 PM
North Port family gets a chilling welcome
Couple return from work to find their new home painted with racist graffiti



NORTH PORT -- The last thing Montique Boykin and her family thought they would have to do to their new rental home here was paint the exterior.

But the family did just that this week after vandals painted swastikas, the words "white power" and other racist messages on their home Monday.

"Welcome to North Port," said Boykin on Friday, standing in front of the white patches of paint that now cover the graffiti.

Boykin and her husband, John Rodriguez, spotted the vandalism after returning home from their jobs at Sarasota Memorial Hospital on Monday night. The family found racist messages and the words "Do not enter" in black spray paint on their front door.

The incident was the second case of racist graffiti in North Port within a week. Less than two miles from Boykin's house, North Port resident Larry Dexter reported finding similar racist remarks spray-painted in black on a city bridge.

"Typically, it's just juveniles more so than an organized hate group," said Police Chief Terry Lewis of the latest cases.

"When it's on someone's home, we take it more personal," he said, noting that the department will try to keep a closer eye on Boykin's house.

Whether anyone will be held accountable for the incident is questionable. The police officer who investigated the graffiti on Monday failed to take any pictures. When police returned several days later, the graffiti had been painted over.

Police Capt. Robert Estrada said neglecting to get the photographs was "an honest mistake." :shock:

The family said they are planning to install an alarm system and possibly surveillance on the house. Boykin wants to get a dog.

"I don't even know what's going on," said the 31-year-old anesthesia technician. "I don't know anyone here or anything."

The family moved to Southwest Florida in May to be near Boykin's father and stepmother, who both live in North Port.

"This is not Southern hospitality," she said.

Boykin's father, William Edwards, chalks the whole thing up to juvenile delinquency.

"Every last one of us has done something stupid when we were little," he said. "I think it's already settled down."

For now, Boykin and her family are sleeping with extra lights on at night.

A few more coats of paint will completely cover the graffiti.

"You're thinking, 'Should I move?'" she said. "But you could go somewhere else and it could happen again.

"So you have to stand your ground."

Last modified: July 21. 2007 12:00AM