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New Pride crosswalk vandalized with ‘hate-motivated graffiti’ in Stratford, Ont

Police say around 1:30 a.m. Friday, officials were notified of "hate-motivated graffiti" on the crosswalk, which is located at Wellington Street and Downie Street in downtown Stratford. Stratford police

Stratford, Ont., police are investigating after a newly completed Pride crosswalk was damaged.

Police say around 1:30 a.m. Friday, officials were notified of “hate-motivated graffiti” on the crosswalk, which is located at Wellington Street and Downie Street in downtown Stratford.

Read more: London, Ont. man finds Pride flag burnt after being torn from front porch

“What appeared to be a household paint had been dumped in several areas across the crosswalk, while a dark coloured spray paint had also been applied across the crosswalk,” police said in a release.

Officials believe the damage had been made recently as the paint was still wet when police arrived.

A pressure washer and street sweepers were used to clean up the crosswalk.

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Police say they searched the area but did not find any clues as to who might’ve caused the vandalism.

Read more: Pride flag at Warsaw Public School removed, burned: Peterborough County OPP

For restaurant owner Kelly Ballantyne, the vandalism felt like a “punch to the gut.”

“The Pride crosswalk means family to me,” she said. “My wife, son and I went to take our photos there. For it to be ruined in one day, it was just a big punch to the stomach.”

Ballantyne said she had seen the Pride crosswalk in other communities and thought her hometown of Stratford should get one too.

She posted her idea on Facebook and received positive feedback, which pushed her toward making it happen.

The Pride crosswalk was completed Wednesday night.

Read more: Police investigating vandalized Pride crosswalk in Brantford

Police are requesting anyone with a business or home in the area that has video surveillance to check their cameras and report suspicious activity.

Officials are also asking the community to check their property, including all garbage and recycling bins, for any evidence that could be linked to this incident.

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As for Ballantyne, she said she wants to see other crosswalks in the town be painted different solid colours that are meaningful for unique reasons for different individuals.

“You’re never going to win,” she said, sending a message to the people responsible for the vandalism. “There’s no room for hate. Love always wins.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Stratford police at 519-271-4141, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800- 222-TIPS.

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