A Sylvania Township man who spray painted a swastika and hate message on a resident’s garage door pleaded no contest Thursday to criminal damage in Sylvania Municipal Court.
Osama Nazzal, 28, faces up to 90 days in jail and a $750 fine when he is sentenced May 4 by Judge M. Scott Ramey, who found him guilty of the second-degree misdemeanor.
Sylvania Township police said Mr. Nazzal vandalized the garage door, mailbox, and a car license plate at the Cinnamon Teal Court residence of Souheir Eltatawy on Jan. 10.
Though a message that was hateful toward Arabs was painted on the garage door, police said they did not believe the family’s ethnicity was a factor in the offense. Rather, they said, Mr. Nazzal painted the message because of a perceived slight to him by Ms. Eltatawy’s daughter, Malak Ayache, the day before.
The two, who did not know each other personally, passed in the library at the University of Toledo, and Mr. Nazzal said he thought Ms. Ayache smirked at him, said Sylvania Township police Detective Jake Albright.
“He was angry, and he acted on it,” the detective said.
Mr. Nazzal’s attorney, Pete Rost, said his client takes full responsibility for his actions.
“He understands it was foolish and he acted out of frustration, but in no way was this an ethnic intimidation case,” Mr. Rost said.
He declined to say what had frustrated Mr. Nazzal, but added, “We give credit to Detective Albright, who not only investigated the entire case but came to the same conclusion.”
According to police reports, Mr. Nazzal told police that on Jan. 9 he saw Ms. Ayache at UT smiling and “snickering” at him. He said he felt “paranoid and threatened” by her and decided to look up her address, take spray paint from his garage, and go to her house.
Robert Pyzik, Sylvania’s chief prosecutor, said that based on the police investigation, “This was not in any way, shape, or form related to race, religion, color, or national origin. It simply did not fit the elements of the crime of ethnic intimidation.”
Contact Jennifer Feehan at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-213-2134.
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