A Dana Point man has been arrested and accused of a hate crime after police say he spray-painted racist remarks on a well-known Costa Mesa mural dedicated to immigrant Latinas.
Costa Mesa Police Department officers responded the afternoon of Oct. 31, 2022, to “Las Poderosas,” a 70-foot-long mural in the 3000 block of Killybrooke Lane, for a report of vandalism, police said in a news release.
When they arrived, officers found that the mural honoring immigrant Latinas and their heritage was “vandalized with white supremacy language,” police said. The mural was created two years earlier by an all-female crew led by artist Alicia Rojas.
Dana Point resident Daniel Alec Hotte, 27, was spotted by witnesses and recorded spray-painting on the art, police said.
Police were unable to locate Hotte until they learned he had a Monday court date at the Harbor Justice Center. He was arrested on an outstanding warrant, as well as vandalism and hate crime allegations, police said.
“Vandalism crimes like this can often go unsolved,” Police Chief Ron Lawrence said. “I commend the quick action of the witnesses to capture evidence of the incident and the great police work of the Costa Mesa Police Department that solved this case.”
Costa Mesa officials also thanked the witnesses and condemned the vandalism.
“Costa Mesa is a great city known for its inclusivity. We celebrate our diversity and are proud of our various backgrounds,” said Mayor John Stephens. “This type of crime flies in the face of what we have achieved as a multi-cultural community. I’m grateful for the witnesses who came forward to help identify him and thankful the police stayed on the case and captured the suspect.”
“I represent a community rich in culture,” added Councilmember Loren Gameros. “This suspect came from another city into Costa Mesa to commit this crime and hurt the identity of some of our neighbors. That is unacceptable and now he will have to face justice.”
Any witnesses who have not yet spoken with police are asked to contact Investigator Eric Molina at 714-754-5694 or Sgt. Matt Selinske at 714-754-5093.
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