Hate crime investigation underway in South County
Note was directed at business owner, contained threats of violence
– On Friday at approximately 6 a.m. the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a note left at a business in the 500 block of West Tefft Street in Nipomo containing racially driven hate speech. The note was directed at the business owner, and reportedly contained threats of violence. Witnesses provided a description of the man who posted the note, who was identified as 47-year-old Ricardo Salazar of Santa Maria.
Salazar had reportedly been loitering near the business on a regular basis, and had been asked to leave. A citizen followed Salazar from the scene and alerted sheriff’s deputies to his location. Deputies made contact with Salazar and he was arrested and booked at the San Luis Obispo County Jail on charges of criminal threats along with a hate crime penalty enhancement. Detectives sought a bail enhancement for Salazar, and the reviewing judge set bail at $100,000. While an arrest has been made, detectives are continuing to gather information in this case and address any potential additional threat. This is an ongoing investigation.
Deputies responded to the same location one time previously for a report of a suspicious subject in a vehicle, which left prior to their arrival. There was no allegation of a hate crime in that incident.
If you have any information on this case please contact the sheriff’s detective division at (805) 781-4500.