While someone did scratch racist graffiti in a late 1990s Ford Bronco now owned by a Homer couple, that vandalism turned out to have happened well before an East End Road auto mechanic noticed it April 26 on the car parked at his shop — and even before the couple bought the car.
A long time ago, it turns out.
In an interview on Tuesday with the Homer News, the Bronco’s owner, Jim Weber, said the graffiti has been on the Bronco since before he bought it 10 years ago from an Alaska State Trooper living in Soldotna. The Homer News contacted Weber after he read stories about the vandalism and he and his wife commented on the Homer News Facebook page.
The Homer News and KBBI Public Radio had earlier reported that Dave Johnson of Dave’s Auto Repair notified Alaska State Troopers on the morning of April 26 that Johnson discovered a message had been scratched on the Bronco driver’s side window about O.J. Simpson, the former NFL player who was found not guilty in the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, in 1995 in Los Angeles. The N-word also had been scratched in a window, but misspelled.
Weber said the words had been scratched in the Bronco in relationship to the Simpson story.
Simpson was evading the police after being charged with the murder of his wife and Ronald Goldman, and he rode down a Los Angeles freeway in a 1993 white Ford Bronco owned and driven by a friend, Al Cowlings. The slow-speed police chase was broadcast on TV.
The Weber’s white Bronco is similar in color, make and model to the Simpson vehicle.
Trooper Sgt. Daniel Cox, head of the Anchor Point Post, confirmed Weber’s story. Troopers contacted the Webers after a query from the Homer News. Following up on Weber’s Facebook comments, the News asked troopers if the vandalism had happened earlier.
“We were able to determine the damage to the vehicle happened quite a while ago and not while it was parked there on East End Road,” Cox said on Tuesday.
Cox said he could not confirm that Weber bought the Bronco from a Soldotna trooper or if the trooper had reported the vandalism 10 or more years ago.
Weber said the Soldotna man pointed out the vandalism when the Webers bought the Bronco. Weber said the scratches are hard to see.
“You can only see that when the sunlight hits that just right,” he said.
In all the years the Webers have owned the Bronco, no one said anything about the racist graffiti.
“If they did, I would have taken it out,” Weber said.
It would be expensive to replace the damaged Bronco windows, Weber said. He’s contacted a repair person who thinks the scratches could be buffed out.
“It’s been a bizarre scenario,” Johnson said of the vandalism. “My alertness was to call the troopers and let them take care of it.”
Cox said because the incident happened 10 years ago, troopers consider the case closed.
According to Alaska law, the statute of limitations for criminal mischief is five years, meaning no charges could now be filed even if troopers identified the vandal.