SPRING HILL, Tenn. (WKRN) — Spring Hill Police arrested a Columbia man accused of spray painting racially inappropriate words and symbols on a family’s home.

Police were notified the morning of December 31 when the family awoke to find the N-word and a swastika spray painted on the garage door of their home.

Thanks to home surveillance cameras, police investigators quickly identified the suspect as 22-year-old Ian Grau of Columbia. Police tell News 2 that Grau is the ex-boyfriend of the woman who lives at the home.

“Obviously when you wake up early in the morning, 6 a.m., and you see that kind of thing spray painted on your house, it is alarming to the person and to the neighbors because the neighbors don’t know what is going on, so it is a big deal,” said Detective Mike Foster of Spring Hill Police Department.

Bodycam from later in the day shows officers making a traffic stop on Grau’s Ford Mustang. He was quickly identified, handcuffed and charged with aggravated stalking, vandalism and
civil rights intimidation which Foster says is equivalent to a hate crime.

Robert Hill has lived in the Spring Hill community where the vandalism took place for six years.

“We don’t tolerate anything like that over here. This is a peaceful neighborhood. We have had no problems out here at all.”

Hill says he saw pictures of the racially charged words and symbols, and is proud of his neighbors who helped the family clean the garage door.

“As a black person, I was very offended at that. I was very offended. I wanted to know who did it and I am glad they made an arrest to squash it, and that’s something we don’t tolerate at all.”

News 2 reached out to Grau for comment, but he has yet to respond to our request.

“Obviously this type of crime will not be tolerated. Everyone deserves to live in this country free from any racially motivated incidents,” said Detective Foster.

Because this is considered a potential hate crime, the FBI is also taking a look at this case.

According to a Spring Hill Police report, Grau is connected to another vandalism incident this past summer. The report indicates the suspect was seen on camera with spray paint reportedly spray painting the driver door, side mirrors and license plate of a vehicle parked at the home.