By Daisy Duke | AuxBeacon News Contributor
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A Civil Air Patrol office trashed and painted Monday with “KKK” and a symbol resembling the Nazi swastika forced officials to change locks and move a government van from a Salisbury Composite Squadron hangar at the Salisbury-Ocean City Wicomico Regional Airport.
Vandals also dumped coffee and sugar on camouflage uniforms and scattered files and other papers from desk drawers and cabinets stored at the squadron’s office, where Lt Joe Groves, squadron spokesman, surveyed damage shortly after airport officials notified him about noon of the break-in. Keys to a squadron van parked on the property were also taken, Groves said. “The door was open when we got here a little after 12 pm,” he said. “Keys were taken; we are changing the locks.”
Police have no suspects, and the Wicomico County Bureau of Investigation joined the probe yesterday because of a possible link to a hate crime, said Cpl Craig Ashley of the county’s Sheriff’s Office.
Symbols painted on a television set and a cabinet were off by several degrees and a Nazi swastika was painted in reverse, possible indicators the scribbling was the handiwork of an amateur. “It might be (a hate crime) and it might be an amateur,” Ashley said. “Paint was still fresh and indicated that it happened the same day.”
The Civil Air Patrol incident was one of several throughout Wicomico County between late Sunday and early Monday, when vandals overturned mailboxes and broke driveway lights from Nanticoke Road on Salisbury’s Westside to near the airport on the east side of town, Ashley said. “There were quite a few (acts of vandalism) reported and this happens to be the most high-profile one,” he said.
The Civil Air Patrol is a group of volunteers charged with cadet programs, aerospace education and emergency services for the U.S. Air Force — an organization not likely to have a “disgruntled former member,” said Capt Jonathan Johnson, the squadron commander. “We are all volunteers. We have no idea who’s responsible,” he said. “We’re an auxiliary of the Air Force, like the Boy Scouts, more of an ROTC type organization.”
The CAP office has been in Salisbury for 20 years and does not keep weapons or money at the hangar, Deputy Cmdr Mike Crockett said.