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El Cerrito Police Investigate Hate Crime

EL CERRITO (CBS SF) -- El Cerrito police are investigating a hate crime.

Sarika Patel-Gregory was up at 3 a.m. on Wednesday to feed her newborn when she saw a flickering light outside.

"And I saw there was a huge engulfed fire underneath my car," Patel-Gregory said.

She woke her husband, Greg Gregory, in a panic and he raced for the garden hose.

"I was thinking about was the car going to blow up before I put it out?" he said.

This the Gregorys say was no accident.

They found two logs under the car, one in between the two tires sitting directly under the gas tank of the car and another log had been lit right beneath the engine.

Gregory said he was wondering why somebody was trying to kill his family.

It was while detectives were dusting the car for fingerprints that Patel-Gregory noticed something even more disturbing: a note on a piece of cardboard sitting in the front yard, scrawled with the N-word.

And it said 'Go Away, N-----s.'

Greg had thought this was merely vandalism, but then saw the note.

Police are now investigating the incident as a hate crime and running extra patrols in the neighborhood. Gregory's family has lived here for nearly fifty years and his grandmother says that in all that time she's never seen anything like this and she has no intention of being intimidated.

"You have to stay put and do what you can to protect your home and family," Greg's grandmother said.

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