Orlando Local News

Apopka residents worry vandals will strike again

todayAugust 3, 2023

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ORLANDO, Fla. — In early July, Apopka police responded to a burglary and vandalism at Overlook at Parkside that left multiple vehicles covered with spraypaint that included obscene images and racial slurs.

On Thursday, Apopka Police Chief Mike McKinley sat down with Spectrum News to discuss the case, which has garnered considerable community attention.

What You Need To Know

  • Multiple cars were vandalized and spraypainted with obscene images and language, including racial slurs, on the morning of July 6 at Apopka
  • On Thursday, Apopka Police Chief Mike McKinley said the case has been deemed inactive while his department awaits evidence from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement
  • Members of the Apopka City Council reacted to the incident on Wednesday

He said the incident happened on the morning of July 6 at Apopka, and defended his decision to hold back information about it until recently.

“If we go too early to the media, it can tell those who committed the crime what we’re doing, what we have,” said McKinley.

Some cars were also burglarized, and investigators say the department recovered a stolen vehicle in the area.

Police say they believe four individuals are responsible for about $18,000 in damages.

Sylvester Hall, who has lived in Apopka for 24 years, says he’s concerned that whoever vandalized and spraypainted the vehicles in July may strike again. He said he’s brought his concerns to two Apopka City Council meetings.

“Things like this should’ve been reported to the public as soon as possible,” said Hall. “That’s a hate crime, that’s a hate crime.”

McKinley says his department is investigating the incident, but explained that for police to classify it as a hate crime, investigators have to identify suspects first and then find the motive behind their actions.

“There is no place in our society for any individual to use that type of language, draw those vulgar pictures on anybody’s property,” said McKinley. “We want to determine whether it was a hate crime or it wasn’t, and we want to make sure that we can try to bring closure to our community.”

Pictures obtained by Spectrum News show “CKM” spraypainted in one of the vehicles, and McKinley said that may be referring to “a group we’ve identified in the city of Apopka in the past.

“That group’s made up of white, African American and Hispanic individuals,” he said.

Back at city hall, Hall said he is appalled by a video a neighbor shared with Spectrum News that showed what appeared to be the same four individuals in the area attempting to open car doors.  

“If they go around and do this once, nine out of 10, they’re going to go around and hit another neighborhood,” said Hall.

Investigators say the video showing the four individuals is being redacted, but will be released Friday.

McKinley said the case is technically inactive until the Florida Department of Law Enforcement results are returned with fingerprint evidence.

“We’re going to need some more evidence, they were fully masked,” he said.

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