Cross burned on lawn of Obama supporters in Hardwick
by Mike Frassinelli/The Star-Ledger
Thursday November 06, 2008, 2:05 PM
Matt Rainey/The Star-LedgerAlina and Gary Grewal of Hardwick stand at the spot where they found a burning cross on their front lawn this morning.
The spot where the Grewals found a burning cross on their front lawn this morning.
A family of Barack Obama supporters awakened this morning to find a burned 6-foot cross on the front lawn of their home in northern Warren County, police said.
The charred cross was partly wrapped with a homemade congratulatory banner that declared "President Obama Victory ’08" and had been stolen from the lawn the night before, police said.
"Living in the 21st century, and we have to deal with this — in America," said Gary Grewal, a native of India who lives with his wife and 8-year-old daughter on Millbrook Road in picturesque Hardwick Township.
State Police took the charred cross away in boxes to check for fingerprints or other evidence.
"We are treating it as a bias crime," said Lt. Gerald Lewis, a State Police spokesman.
Police said that between 1 and 7:30 a.m., someone set ablaze a cross composed of a metal fence post and a couple of two-by-fours.
"Fortunately, in this particular case, the victims weren’t harmed," Lewis said.
Lewis said it was the first such incident State Police had received information on in New Jersey.
In Hardwick, the Obama/Joe Biden ticket garnered just 38 percent of the vote, but it was not substantially less than the 41 percent the ticket received in Warren County as a whole.
Grewal’s wife, Alina, whose parents left Fidel Castro’s Cuba to come to America, was active with the Obama campaign in the county. She said several Obama signs have been stolen from her lawn, but never the other Democratic candidates.
Instead of being intimidated, Gary and Alina Grewal have been emboldened.
"I don’t want anyone to dictate to me and my family how to live," Alina Grewal said.
Gary Grewal vowed to make an even larger Obama congratulatory banner.