White supremacy fliers were distributed through a Fountain Green neighborhood east of Bel Air early Wednesday morning, the Harford County Sheriff's Office confirmed.
Deputies were called to the 1400 block of East Banavie Terrace in the Fountain Glen neighborhood Wednesday for a report of a suspicious incident.
A resident there reported finding a white supremacy flier, according to Kyle Andersen, a spokesperson for the sheriff's office. The deputy also saw other fliers on the ground in the court.
It is believed they were distributed during the early morning hours Wednesday, Andersen said.
A reporter from The Aegis observed some of the fliers in the neighborhood. They were in a clear plastic covering and were weighted down with small rocks.
One side read: "White man Are you sick and tried of the Jews destroying your country through mass immigration and degeneracy? Join us in the struggle for global white supremacy" and it listed a website. Two swastikas were imprinted on the paper.
The other side tells residents to "beware" of "armed bands... roaming the highways and marching through your neighborhood. They may even try to enter your home!"
It lists ways to identify those "armed bands," people who wear uniforms, carry weapons and drive cars "often painted black and white or blue and white, with sirens and flashing lights."
"These gangs are highly organized, well armed and potentially violent. Warn your friends and neighbors," the flier reads. "Do not let them corner you! Defend yourself by any means necessary!"
It shows a police officer in uniform described as a "typical gang member."
The fliers were also found in other parts of the neighborhood.
Deputies searched the area but could not find any suspects or witnesses, Andersen said.
Residents are encouraged to call police whenever they see suspicious activity or if they have any information about this incident. Deputies from the Community Policing Unit will be following up in the targeted neighborhood, Andersen said.
This incident, he said, would not be considered a hate crime, according to Article 49B of the Annotated Code of Maryland. Individuals distributing the fliers could, however, be charged with other crimes such as trespassing, littering and harassment.
There was no additional information about the case provided by the Sheriff's Office as of Thursday afternoon when a second reporter from The Aegis visited Banavie Terrace, which resembles any number of residential streets in one of the residential subdivisions that ring the greater Bel Air area.
Mark Borkman recalled seeing packages of the fliers in front of every driveway on his cul-de-sac at the east end of Banavie.
"They were sitting in front of the driveways like the paper would be," he said.
He suspects the people who left the fliers drove along the street and tossed them from their vehicle, similar to delivering newspapers.
Borkman, who has lived in the Fountain Glen community for about 10 years, said it was surprising to see the racist fliers, describing them as "just out of nowhere."
Borkman said Fountain Glen is a tight-knit community, and he noted there are regulations against soliciting via fliers.
Fliers have been left in front of houses in the past, advertising local businesses, but "this is the first kind of racist piece I've seen so far," he said.
One man, who was leaving his home at the intersection of Banavie and Redfield Road, expressed his distress about the fliers, although he declined to give an interview as he was on his way to work.
"The Klan's out here, they're leaving fliers and [stuff]," he shouted as he drove away. "The Klan, the Klan, the Klan!"
Robin Macomber, who lives nearby on Loch Carron Way, said racist materials are "just out of character" for the neighborhood.
She has lived in the area for about 25 years, and she noted neighbors look out for each other and will let each other know if something seems out of the ordinary.
Liz Keefe, a mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service who has delivered mail in the community for about two and half years, also looks out for residents.
She recalled texting a resident she knows after seeing a someone walking around the person's property, but it turned out they had been called to check the siding on the house.
"I've never heard of any issues like that," Keefe said of distribution of racist material.
Meghan Beyea, another Loch Carron Way resident, is a mother of four who has lived in Fountain Glen for about 12 years. She and her family moved to Harford County from Columbia because of her husband's job.
"Everywhere you go, people are nice," she said.
Beyea said the kindness was one of the first things she noticed about the community,
"My neighbors care," she said. "If there's something wrong, they check in."
Beyea, 39, has a niece and nephew who are biracial, and she struggles to explain incidents of racism to her children.
"Any time they hear about something like this, they take it very seriously," she said. "They worry, is somebody going to hurt my cousins?"
Bias-related incidents directed at racial and religious minorities have been on the rise in the United States, Beyea noted, a concern to her and her family.
"It's very hard for them to wrap their heads around," she said of her children. "It's very hard for me to wrap my head around; I don't remember it being this intense, ever."
Aegis staff member David Anderson contributed to this report.