Have you seen this man? Winnipeg police investigating hate graffiti along Pembina Highway
Winnipeg police are looking for a man in connection to a string of businesses along Pembina Highway hit with hateful graffiti including swastikas last week.
On Thursday, police said at least 10 businesses along Pembina Highway were vandalized between midnight and 4 a.m. on July 22.
"The real concerning nature of this is that the graffiti was swastikas – consistent in all cases," said Const. Rob Carver.
"I think everyone is attuned to how hateful and how dangerous graffiti of this type can be."
Carver said there is no underlying theme that links swastikas or hate graffiti to the businesses that were vandalized. He said the businesses appear to be a random selection.
Tehran Cafe spray-painted with swastikas. (Source: Paul Clerkin/Twitter)
Hate crime investigators from Winnipeg police's major crimes unit are investigating the vandalism.
"At the moment it is being investigated as a potential hate crime because it is swastikas," Carver said.
"When you've got 10 businesses along a major thoroughfare that are all tagged with a swastika, that certainly crosses a threshold where we need to look at it as someone trying to send a hate message – whether or not it is a hate crime is still yet to be determined."
A man who appears to be in his 20s or 30s was caught on surveillance video spray-painting a window of a store in the area.
WATCH THE VIDEO HERE:
Police said the man was wearing lime-green shorts, a plaid shirt, along with a red and white cap. Police said he also had a distinct black gym bag slung across his body.
Hate Crimes investigators are asking for the public's help to identify the man.
Carver said spray paint vandalism of any kind is considered a property crime, but police devote much more resources when there is graffiti that could be a hate crime.
"There is an element that is much more concerning – it comes with risks that are beyond simple property damage," Carver said.
Any other businesses that were hit with graffiti, or have video surveillance, are asked to call the major crimes unit at 204-986-6219, or leave an anonymous tip at Crime Stoppers by calling 204-786-8477.
The full list of businesses that police said were hit with the graffiti include:
- a bank in the 1300 block of Pembina Highway;
- a church in the 1700 block of Pembina Highway;
- a gift shop in the 1800 block of Pembina Highway;
- a cafe in the 1800 block of Pembina Highway;
- a supermarket in the 1800 block of Pembina Highway;
- a medical centre in the 2000 block of Pembina Highway;
- a law firm in the 2100 block of Pembina Highway;
- a drugstore in the 2200 block of Pembina Highway;
- a medical centre in the 2300 block of Pembina Highway; and
- a hair salon in the 2800 block of Pembina Highway.
-With files from CTV’s Devon McKendrick.