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Resident victim of apparent hate crime

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NORTH BEND - In the short time John Kraske has lived in North Bend, he never thought he would be the victim of a hate-driven crime.

"I moved out here to get away from craziness," he said.

On the night of Sept. 14, Kraske arrived home on Southeast Cedar Falls Way after having dinner at a friend's house in North Bend. Around 9 p.m., Kraske had just seated himself at the computer located on the first floor of the house he is renting a room in when he heard a loud crashing noise. For a second or two, Kraske thought the house cat had knocked something down, but then a rock about the size of a football rolled close to his feet. He looked into the living room and saw that a front window had been shattered, covering the carpet and furniture with shards of glass. As Kraske raced upstairs to get his cellular phone, he heard a car speed away from the front of the house.

As he inspected the damage, he found another window in the house had been broken with a rock. When a King County Sheriff's deputy arrived a couple of hours later, the deputy found a racial slur scratched into the back of Kraske's van along with an expletive. The tires on the van had been popped and were deflated, as were all the tires on Kraske's truck and two tires on a trailer parked next to the truck. The next morning, Kraske found a swastika etched into the driver-side door of his van. Kraske even believes a pile of excrement he stepped in while inspecting the tires on his truck may have been from a human.

His neighbors heard nothing. Kraske inspected the wooded area in front of the house and found what he believed was a newly-worn trail through the brush that led to the driveway.

"They were pretty stealthy," Kraske said.

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