It happens more often than not. Graffiti or vandalism using racist or anti-semitic symbols to cover up a crime or gain fame. From wait staff at restaurants who fake racist notes on receipts to college students who fake racist attacks. Now a former church maintenance worker at a Kansas City church pleaded guilty to spray-painting racist graffiti and setting a fire to cover up a burglary.
Federal prosecutors say 49-year-old Nathaniel Nelson admitted Friday that in October 2017 he set fire to an office in the Concord Cultural Center after stealing money to buy drugs.
The incident drew national attention as do most of these types of incidents. The media was quick to label it a hate crime and the city full of racists.
Nelson, who is black, then sprayed a racial slur, the letters KKK, and a symbol like a swastika on the adjacent Concord Fortress of Hope church.
Nelson admitted in court that the fire and graffiti were meant to confuse investigators.
A sprinkler extinguished the fire before fire crews arrived. The church’s insurance company paid more than $330,000 for the damage.
A sentencing date has been set for Jan. 17.