Columbia police officers respond to burning cross

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A Columbia spokeswoman says police officers responded to a report of a burning cross and racial slur involving a man charged this week with taking money from seven vulnerable adults.

Police spokeswoman Jennifer Timmons says officers were dispatched about 4:30 a.m. Friday to the home of 45-year-old Mitchell Smith. She says the cross was not burning when crews arrived. She says an object was thrown through the window. No one was injured.

Timmons says the possible hate crime was turned over to the FBI. An FBI spokesman says the agency isn’t commenting.

Smith is charged with posing as a social worker to take the money.

Mitchell Smith Jr. told WLTX-TV his father was overwhelmed and crying when he asked him to hurry and come to the house.

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