By: Erika Stanish / KDKA-TV News
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Police are investigating several incidents of harassment and intimidation of two homeowners in Shadyside.
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Police said they were working to identify two people after a homeowner reported that signs in his yard had been smeared with anti-national and political messages.
KDKA spoke with the landlord, who said some of the harassment started in 2020 but has gotten worse since Russia invaded Ukraine.
“Back at the time of the 2020 election, someone vandalized a few signs, anything. Vasily Potanin said. “Since the events in Ukraine started happening, they have recognized me as Russian. For some reason, just because I’m Russian, they started to think that I had to support (Vladimir) Putin. They started sending me letters saying, “We want you out of the neighborhood.”
Potanin’s neighbors told KDKA-TV’s Erika Stanish that he was also threatened.
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“They kept throwing things in our yard, throwing dog poop, throwing rice bags with letters on them. Kids are scared to go out now,” said John Nasr.
Nasr said two people in particular kept showing up and shouting at him. Nasr said he is Lebanese and has lived in Shadyside for 16 years. He said he was being evaluated for his accent.
“You come here calling me a Russian because I look different from you, but you are completely confused and a complete hypocrite,” Nasr said.
Police are looking for two people this evening who are accused of harassing and threatening several residents of Shadyside. I have spoken to the hosts involved, who say they believe this is all rooted in their politics and nationality. Learn more about how this started and the threats against them @KDKA pic.twitter.com/X7uiTDMJlW
– Erika Stanish (@Erika_Stanish) March 18, 2022
“The couple have nothing better to do than target someone because of their nationality,” says Potanin. “Hate messages are being sent in the mail like, ‘Get out of our neighborhood’, ‘You owe Putin favors,’ ‘You’re a spy.’ It’s completely ridiculous.”
Police said they are working to identify those involved. The FBI has also been notified.
“I don’t think this has a place in America today. This is the land of people from all over the world,” said Nasr.
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Potanin said he plans to press charges against the pair. Anyone with information should contact Area 4 police.
https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2022/03/17/harassment-intimidation-against-pittsburgh-homeowner/ Police Investigating Harassment and Intimidation Against Shadyside Homeowners – CBS Pittsburgh