Hate crime investigation underway after Mokena park vandalized

A possible hate crime occurred in the suburbs with vulgar messages written in spray paint.

The offensive vandalism was reportedly discovered by a 12-year-old over the weekend at Prairie Ridge Park in Mokena.


The spray-painted messages were anti-Jewish, anti-LGBTQ, and targeted Asian Americans and African Americans.

"I'm disgusted," one resident said.

Mokena residents are outraged.

"I walk this park every day. I walk the trails every day. And it's very upsetting. This is not who we are. This is not what our community is about," a resident said.

Village clean-up crews spent hours power-washing and cleaning up the graffiti.

"And while I've looked back and I haven't seen any hate crime incidents, as far as an incident where an incident takes place where someone is actually assaulted or battered, we want to know the source of this. And we want to take positive action in regards to it," said Mokena Interim Police Chief Timothy McCarthy.

Police say they are canvassing the area, accessing nearby Ring camera footage, and moving in a "promising" direction towards an arrest.

"Vandalism is the smallest part of it. That can all be fixed. But it's what's behind this. Who's behind it. And what their motive is," McCarthy said.

Whoever is responsible will likely face hate crime charges and felony damage to state-supported property.