Penis paintings link vandalism in Grand Prairie to spree in Arlington that included anti-gay slurs

Grand Prairie police are working with Arlington police to determine whether the same vandals are responsible for spray-painted penises that appeared on homes and cars in both of the cities recently.

Detective Lyle Gensler with Grand Prairie police said 10 residences had defaced homes and cars featuring vulgar images spray-painted between 2-6 a.m. Tuesday in the 900 block of Furlong Drive and 2700 block of Triple Crown Lane.

Gensler said several of the images were penises, which were also used in defacing 10 residences in the 1100 block of Crowley Road in Arlington over the weekend, during which anti-gay slurs were also spray-painted on a lesbian couple’s SUV.

Gensler said no biased words targeting race, religion or sexual orientation were used in the Grand Prairie incidents.

Investigators have been in contact with Arlington police and are looking into the same leads, he said.

“We actually are going to compare the two based on the way they were drawn,” he said.

As for the culprits, Gensler said it is most likely teenagers that are responsible for the vandalism.

Arlington police spokesman Tiara Richard said Tuesday morning that although the incident involving the lesbian couple “looks like a hate crime,” it’s too soon to say that definitively.

It’s up to the district attorney’s office to decide whether to prosecute cases as hate crimes in Texas. However, law enforcement agencies do classify cases as hate crimes for the purpose of reporting them to the FBI each year.

But Richard said the determination about whether to report the incident as a hate crime to the FBI won’t be made until the investigation is complete. She took issue with a headline on Instant Tea from Monday which indicated police weren’t “investigating” the incident as a hate crime. Rather, Richard said, Arlington police simply aren’t calling it a hate crime — at least not yet. The headline has since been changed.

“When it comes to criminal investigations, we let the investigation tell us what something is,” Richard said. “We don’t make determinations on the front end of what something is.

“It looks like a hate crime,” Richard added. “It looks like this couple was targeted because of their sexual orientation, and that’s a big element of the investigative process, and that’s part of what we’ll look into. However, until an investigation is complete … they’re not going to call it something that we may in the investigation find that it’s not.”

—  Dallasvoice