Police are still on the prowl in search of a white man suspected of harassment after leaving a bag containing a Ku Klux Klansman robe and robe at a Redmond, Washington consignment store owned by a Black woman.
Leona Coakley-Spring, the owner of Rags to Riches thrift store, found the distasteful items in between two dresses in the same bag left Wednesday night [January 20, 2016].
“My mother didn’t know what it was right away. I was like ‘Mom, that’s not a choir robe’,” says Shane Coakley, the owner’s son. “I was angry. I’ve never seen my mom cry so much.”
Coakley-Spring says that she bought clothes from the man in what she calls a “nice and normal interaction.” He only began to act suspicious before behind the bag. She believes the items were left behind in an attempt to send a message to her.
“I didn’t know what to do or say,” Coakley-Spring stated Thursday night [January 26]. “I can’t change the way I look, but it makes me feel like I’m not good enough. And that’s a bad feeling to have, that you’re not good enough.”
Not sure yet if the incident is at the level of a hate crime, investigators are working with experts on this case. Detectives have sent out a bulletin to surrounding departments for leads, and have also released a sketch of the suspect.
“The most important thing for us is to identify the man and talk to him,” said Rebecca Range, a spokeswoman for the Redmond Police Department. “We really want to just interview him, understand what his intent was, and what exactly happened.”