Man charged with hate crime for threatening neighbors - Fox 2 News Headlines

Man charged with hate crime for threatening neighbors

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MOKENA, Ill. (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

A 28-year-old man who greeted his new neighbors with racial epithets and threatened them with a knife Saturday has been charged with a hate crime, police said.

Richard M. Cyplik, of 11619 Seminole Court, also was charged with aggravated assault, aggravated battery and vandalism, the Herald-News is reporting.

About 5:30 p.m., a 33-year-old man was helping his 32-year-old friend move into an apartment when Cyplik walked over and yelled, "What are you two (expletive) looking at?" according to Mokena police Cmdr. Dan Rankovich. Both of the victims were black.

"He then spit in the face of the 33-year-old and pulled out a folding knife while saying he was a Latin Kings gang member," Rankovich said.

Cyplik's girlfriend took the knife away before heand the older man began punching each other, Rankovich said.

The girlfriend also reportedly broke up the fistfight before the new resident and his friend walked back to the apartment. Cyplik followed and continued shouting derogatory terms at them, Rankovich said.

"He picked up a rock and threw it through the sliding glass patio door, then took the knife back from his girlfriend and slashed the driver's rear tire and punched out the taillight of the victims' car," Rankovich said.

The victims called police, who interviewed Cyplik, who "had a strong odor of alcohol," according to reports.

Cyplik allegedly told police he and his girlfriend had just returned home when the new resident and his friend began shouting at him and calling him a "cracker," and when he went over to make peace, they threatened him.

A bystander found the knife while police were at the scene and turned it over, Rankovich said.

Cyplik was booked into the Will County Jail. Records show he was also arrested for disorderly conduct in December 2006.

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