Vandalism at Lodi Sikh Center Remains Unsolved

March 27, 2006

Source: The Record

On March 27, 2006 The Record reported, "Investigators still don't know who spray-painted swastikas and racial epithets four months ago at a Sikh worship center, San Joaquin County sheriff's deputies said last week.

Nirmal Samra, [a grape grower who has lived in Lodi for more than 30 years and owns the property,] awoke Oct. 10 to find the graffiti on a produce stand and big-rig trailer on the 8.6-acre property that includes the Sikh worship center. The vandalism included remarks such as 'killers' and 'white power' along with racial epithets directed at Muslims of Middle Eastern origin.

No arrests have been made, and investigators have exhausted all leads, said Les Garcia, a spokesman for the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office.

Investigators initially said in October that the crime could be linked to one of the dozen or so white-supremacist groups in the county. Several juvenile suspects were interviewed, but authorities couldn't gather enough evidence to prosecute anyone, Garcia said... There were 22 hate crimes reported in 2004 in San Joaquin County, according to the California Department of Justice. Most hate crimes reported in California were motivated by bias against a certain race, ethnicity or national origin... The San Joaquin County Planning Commission approved plans Dec. 16 to build a bigger Sikh temple on the vandalized property... Samra said work will begin on building the new Sikh temple on the site within two weeks."