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Police have possible person of interest in ransacking of interracial couple's East Price Hill home

Posted at 5:19 PM, Dec 06, 2016

CINCINNATI -- Police said they are looking into a person they're calling a "possible person of interest" in the trashing of an East Price Hill home.

While Pat and Joe Jude were out of town for Thanksgiving, someone broke into their rental property and ransacked the home, spray-painting swastikas and the words "white power" and "slumlord." They also stole the refrigerator from the kitchen, poured concrete down the drains in the bathroom, disconnected pipes and kicked down the railings on the stairs.

Many have been calling the incident a "hate crime" because of the racist messages and the fact that the Judes are an interracial couple.

 

The owners said they believe whoever did the damage used a ladder to climb on the roof and entered through a second-floor window right in view of the street.

While police said they have a possible person of interest in the case, it's important to make the distinction that the same person isn't necessarily a suspect. It's someone who detectives think can help solve the case.

Whoever did hit the home caused thousands of dollars' worth of damage.

"We met with our adjustor yesterday," Pat Jude said. "We still don't know what they will cover and what they won't cover."

The couple lives in Loveland and they rent out several homes in Cincinnati, leading to questions if the vandal could have been a disgruntled tenant.

"It certainly could have," Pat Jude said. "Usually, though, there are ways to deal with that. If it would have been a disgruntled tenant, it probably wouldn't have been so hateful."

The home was vacant at the time the damage was done. A new tenant was supposed to move in Dec. 1.

"It hurts," Pat Jude said. "It just hurts so much. I can't imagine that, even if it ended up being a disgruntled [tenant]. It's still not OK."

This isn't the first time the Judes say racial hate has hurt their family. Their son, Jay, committed suicide six years ago after they say he was bullied for being bi-racial.

A Gofundme page for the family, bearing Jay's photo, has raised more than $46,000 in just a few days. They had initially aimed to raise just $2,000 to help with repair costs.

Pat Jude has a plan for some of the extra money.

"I also would like to give some money to the suicide prevention people as well, for my son," she said.

It has been another painful time to get through, but Pat Jude said she feels supported.

"The City of Cincinnati has rallied behind us," she said. "The mayor has spoken out. The police, I know they're doing everything they can to crack the case."

The Judes are now offering a $1,000 reward for anyone who provides information that leads to an arrest. Police asked anyone with information to call Crimestoppers.