Bel-Ridge neighborhood angered over racist vandalism

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BEL-RIDGE, MO. (KPLR) – A vacant Bel-Ridge home is spray painted with racial slurs, and neighbors both black and white in the 3500 block of East Edgar Avenue are angry and puzzled.

Trinnie Hepler, 88, has lived in this racially mixed neighborhood since 1955 and says prior to this incident; the neighborhood has not experienced any racial issues.

'I think it is ridiculous." Hepler said. 'I have never known anybody to be that stupid.'

When Fox 2 contacted Bel-Ridge police Monday morning, they were unaware of the crime but quickly dispatched several officers to document the damage and canvas the neighborhood.

'Hopefully somebody saw something,' said Capt. Daniel Clyne. 'Without that it's pretty difficult.'

No one can figure out why this house in particular was targeted, though some wonder if the fact that the previous occupants were white and frequently invited black friends over to use their pool may be the issue since some of the racist graffiti read: "N----- Lover."

'We have a lot of different ethnicities around here so it is kind of shocking to see that, but you should expect the unexpected,' said Rita Allen, an African-American who has lived in the neighborhood for about two years.

The Bel-Ridge Public Works department dispatched a crew to remove the paint with a razor blade scraper and a pressure washer.

'I think it is just sad, and it just shows that we haven`t progressed at all,' said Allen.

'If anything we are still at the same position we were 40 years ago.'

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