Suspect arrested after xenophobic letters targeting minorities posted on Bay Area homes, police say

SAN LEANDRO, Calif. -- A Bay Area community is on edge after a string of racist letters targeting Asian Americans, women and children were found on homes and posted in public.



One of those letters was found by Trinh's brother Friday evening.

"It was shocking and the whole family was really shaken up at it. I can't comprehend hatefulness reading this letter send chills down my spine." says Trinh, who is choosing to use only her first name for safety concerns.

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San Leandro police say there were at least five letters posted on homes and other locations by a woman named Nancy Arechiga . The letters suggest those not native to America leave the country immediately.

Trinh reads one letter that her family found on a nearby tree trunk at the neighborhood park:

"You, because we consider you're a stranger, one bad person for this country, leave, go far away, go back to your country, the place you belong. Leave this place. You have until the day May 23, 2020, Saturday 10:30 a.m. to leave this country place no Asian allowed. My Country USA,"



ABC7 News has extensively covered the rise in racist attacks on Asian Americans when the novel coronavirus outbreak began. An online reporting portal by Asian American Studies Department of San Francisco State University and other civil rights groups shows more than 100 hate incidents a day across the country. Something Trinh has noticed.

"Obviously there's been a spike in attacks the Asian American community due to this pandemic," Trinh said. "It's sad to see that. At the end of the day we just have to really be strong and resilient and speak up when we see something."

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SLPD investigated a similar incident on Thursday evening when a related note was found on the Heron Bay trail, affixed to an information board. That note partially read, "no Asians allowed, leave immediately." That post was quickly removed by a good Samaritan and discarded. It is presumed that Arechiga is also responsible for that posting.

Police arrested 52-year-old Arechiga from San Leandro for "inappropriate posts towards minorities" but were forced to released her from jail because of the current state bail schedule which is backed-up due to the pandemic. This isn't something that sits well with Trinh who has always considered her neighborhood a quiet and safe place.

"It just tells me they don't take a hate crime seriously."



While Trinh knows speaking out like this can be scary, San Leandro Police say speaking out and bringing these discriminatory incidents to light is why they've added more patrols in the area.

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"San Leandro is a community of beautifully diverse people, who share a common desire to live in harmony, and free from intimidation," said San Leandro Police Lieutenant Isaac Benabou. "We welcome people's rights to express themselves, but not in a manner that infringes upon a community's sense of security and wellbeing."

Trinh has this message for Nancy.

"We are a strong family and we will move forward. We're very forgiving so we just hope that for this woman whatever she's going through she'll find peace at the end of the day."

SLPD is asking if anyone has information similar to this incident, to contact the department at 510-577-2740.

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