Watch CBS News

Lexington Man Charged With Racially Motivated Vandalism

LEXINGTON (CBS) – A Lexington man was arrested following a string of vandalism incidents against a neighboring family that police say were racially motivated.

A resident called police to report the ongoing incidents on December 16.

Lexington Police said dozens of incidents had taken place throughout 2016, mostly in the early morning hours.

Police said they used hidden video cameras to catch 49-year-old Robert Ivarson throwing banana peels in the driveway of the resident, who is black.

Robert Ivarson
Robert Ivarson being taken out of the courthouse, Jan. 3, 2017. (WBZ-TV)

Following an incident on December 30th, Ivarson was arrested.

He was charged with three counts of civil rights violations, criminal harassment and outstanding arrest warrants and was led from the courthouse in chains.

The alleged victim also told the Concord District Court judge that, on at least two occasions, the tires of her car had been flat, with nails sticking out of them.

Neighbors suspected it was Ivarson, who hid his face from cameras in court.

The prosecutor says the meaning of the bananas is very clear.

"In this incident, the defendant took the overt act of throwing a banana peel, a symbol, a racially-loaded symbol, at the property of his victims, not once, not twice, but three times, in view of police officers who were there in person, but also had cameras. And beyond that, a pattern which had gone on for the last year prior," prosecutor Nils Lundblad said in court.

In court on Tuesday, prosecutors said Ivarson has "anger issues."

Ivarson's neighbors said they fear for their safety, and their daughter is afraid to walk to the bus stop.

A judge approved a 1-year restraining order for the family against Ivarson.

Ivarson's defense attorney told the judge that his client has never had any physical or verbal contact with the alleged victims.

Ivarson was ordered to be held on $10,000 cash bail.

The suspect's parents told police they might not post bail because they are afraid of their own son who has a history of violent crimes including domestic battery and gun charges.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.