DELANO, Minn. (WCCO) — A family feels they have no choice but to leave town after burglars ransacked their home and spray painted racist messages on the walls.
The crime happened Sunday afternoon when Latanza Douglas and her family were out for the evening. When she returned home she found swastikas and racist words on the walls in bedrooms and on the sides of the house. Douglas, her husband, and two of her three foster children are African American.
It was only three months ago she moved her family into the home.
“This was supposed to be the last time we were going to move,” she said.
But now, her living room is filled with moving boxes after her dream home became a living nightmare.
Not only did she have to deal with the graffiti, the home was ransacked. Trash was spilled out on the floors, dressers were emptied, and drawers and furniture were strewn about.
“If it was a burglary, that’s one thing. It happens everywhere. But when you have people judging you for other reasons that you can’t do anything about, that makes it even harder,” she said.
Naresh Uppal is the developer who built the property and even encouraged her to move to Delano, a community he always felt to be welcoming.
“It took me four, five months just the build that house, just the way she wanted,” he said.
Now he’s upset, especially after seeing the words “get out” spray painted by the back door.
“That was the one that hurt the most because you never want to make anyone feel unwelcome,” he said.
Delano Mayor Dale Graunke agrees.
“It’s not what should happen here, or anywhere else,” he said.
He visited Douglas to make sure she knew the town supports her.
“This is our community, we care, and this is not Delano what is happening,” he said.
Douglas believes that statement. But even if she erases the racism splattered across her home, she can’t erase it from her mind. That’s why moving on and giving her foster children a fresh start is the next step.
“These kids have traumas already. So, now we’ve exposed them to another one and it’s not a feeling of safety,” she said.
Uppal said he’s offering a $2,500 reward for any information that can help the Wright County Sheriff’s Office make an arrest.
He also set up a GoFundMe page to help the family with move expenses. If you’d like to help, click here.