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Modesto Costume Shop Owner Angered, Hurt By Recent Vandalism

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MODESTO -- Modesto police investigators aren't characterizing graffiti on a local business a hate crime - yet.

"It's just terrifying, to see that something like that is still okay for people in their head that it's still okay to put something like that out there. To spread hate like that," said Ian Riley, a close friend of Dana Walters, who owns Daydreams and Nightmares costume shop.

"If there's some sort of intent, obviously that's what makes it a hate crime ... Right now we don't know," said Heather Graves of the Modesto Police Department.

For Walters, she says she knows exactly what she's looking at - a message of hate.

"I was very disgusted. I have biracial children ... I immediately think of them as any mother would. Protect your kids. That hurt me. It hurt me really bad," she said.

She believes whoever is responsible for spray painting her purple building, clearly marking it with "KKK" along with other graffiti, targeted her because of her multi-racial family, especially since there are other nearby businesses that are light in color, where graffiti would stand out more.

The costume shop was once a funeral home, complete with a crematorium.

In the two years since Walters moved to this location, she believes there have been many paranormal occurances inside the building, which she's been able to peacefully coexist with.

She says it's people with hate in their hearts she can't live with.

"There's some ugly out there. But with all the ugly, I try to focus more on the positive," Walters said.

Once Walter posted pictures of her tagged business, the community outreach of those wanting to help her was overwhelming, even those who offered to volunteer their help from as far away as Holland.

"Modesto gets a bad wrap. But it's a good community," Riley said.

"As we look into it a little bit futher, we will be able to determine how we're going to investigate it," Graves said.

To the tagger responsible for the what Walters says is a hateful message, she wants them to know this:

"I would like them to come meet me. Don't be a coward. Don't write on my building. Come talk to me. Let me show you my family and how much love we have," she added.