A male Toronto man has been arrested after a total of nine incidents of alleged hate-motivated mischief over nearly two years, police have said.
The man, who was arrested on Friday, was apprehended by a specialized intelligence unit. According to police, he has been charged with nine counts of mischief for incidents such as defacing monuments and writing graffiti on homes and businesses, all involving protected religious and racial grounds, with the total cost reaching $140,000.
Kari Bjornsson, the city’s acting chief constable, said in a statement on Sunday, “the less than two years passed since some of these incidents occurred were senseless, hurtful and didn’t reflect our city values.”
“Once again, we were reminded of the importance of not tolerating hatred of any kind, from individuals or groups,” he added.
The man will appear in court at a later date.
The police issued a reminder on Sunday that if a person is to be arrested, all communications from media and public should be turned over to police.
The most recent incident was recorded on CCTV on 19 April when police said a male vandalised a house containing two Muslim families. A Jewish house and car was also damaged. The suspects were seen with a backpack and a mask, police said.
In other incidents, police said a swastika was spray-painted on a Jewish woman’s front door, while someone defaced a life-size statue of the Virgin Mary outside the Darul Uloom Islamic community centre.
“While [the news] brings me some small comfort, this cannot overcome the fact that we have to remember that the acts being investigated are acts of hate-motivated mischief and not hate crimes,” Bjornsson said.
“Toronto has come a long way over the past two years in dealing with incidents of intolerance and hate crimes, but the work is far from done.”
• This article was amended on 27 May 2019. A previous version said the cost of the damage at the Darul Uloom community centre was $1m. The quote was deleted after the claim was deleted from the article