Man Arrested for Allegedly Vandalizing Landmark Mural in Costa Mesa

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COSTA MESA (CNS) - A man wanted for allegedly vandalizing a landmark mural in Costa Mesa with white supremacist language in October was arrested when he appeared in court on an unrelated matter, police said Tuesday.

Daniel Alec Hotte, 27, of Dana Point, was taken into custody Monday morning at the Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach on a warrant, and was booked on suspicion of vandalism and committing a hate crime, said Roxi Fyad of the Costa Mesa Police Department. Hotte is charged with a felony count of vandalism with a sentencing enhancement for a hate crime, according to court records.

Officers were sent to the 3000 block of Killybrooke Lane about 2:30 p.m. Oct. 31 in response to the vandalism report, Fyad said.

"When officers arrived, they found that the Poderosas mural, a local landmark that commemorates Latina heritage, was vandalized with white supremacy language," Fyad said in a statement.

"The mural is well known in the community and spans over 70 feet of a block wall and honors immigrant Latina women," Fyad said.

Fyad said the mural was created in October 2020 by an all-women crew that was led by artist Alicia Rojas.

"Individuals in the area observed the suspect vandalizing the Poderosas mural by spray painting a hate crime message on the mural," Fyad said. "Witnesses reported the crime and also provided video of the incident to CMPD. During the investigation, Daniel Alec Hotte ... was identified as the vandalism suspect."

Authorities began looking for Hotte, but could not find him, Fyad said.

"Investigators then learned Hotte had a pending court date on Monday ... (and) Hotte was located at the Harbor Justice Center and arrested," Fyad said.

"Costa Mesa is a great city known for its inclusivity," Costa Mesa Mayor John Stephens said in a statement. "We celebrate our diversity and are proud of our various backgrounds. This type of crime flies in the face of what we have achieved as a multi-cultural community. I'm grateful for the witnesses who came forward to help identify him and thankful the police stayed on the case and captured the suspect."

Anyone who may have been a witness to the vandalism and who has not yet spoken to CMPD was asked to contact investigator Eric Molina at 714-754- 5694, or Sgt. Matt Selinske at 714-754-5093.

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