Burned Cross Found on Gilbert Man's Lawn; African-American Victim Threatened in Note

An African-American man in Gilbert found on Saturday morning that someone had given him the Christmas Eve gift of a charred wooden cross on his lawn.

On his porch was a threatening letter attached to a rock.

The 43-year-old victim, who hasn't been named by Gilbert police, reported the crime just before 6:30 a.m. on Saturday.

Cops aren't saying much about the situation, except that detectives are on the case, and "it should be noted that this crime does not appear to be a random act."

Ya think?

A bulletin from Gilbert police says that to "protect the integrity of this case," no further information will be released until the investigation has concluded.

No doubt town leaders also are concerned about the integrity of Gilbert with this sort of a shocking hate crime.

It's unclear from the short police write-up whether the cross had been burned on the victim's lawn or before it was installed. We'll update this case when we learn more.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.