(Note: Some may find the subject matter and photos in this story offensive. The management of WTSP discussed the matter and felt it was ultimately up to our viewers to form their own opinions).
TAMPA — A car covered in offensive words and symbols is raising lots of questions. It’s been spotted across the Bay area and is now parked north of Ybor City at the corner of 22nd Avenue and Ida Street.
“I couldn’t tell you what to say about it,” said neighbor Michelle Hobbs, who at first didn’t notice the symbols and N-words all over the car.
You might think this car would spark outrage in the middle of this mostly black neighborhood, but neighbors say it’s more eyesore than insult.
“It’s ugly as hell,” said Jay Sullivan, who lives next to the car.
“Really I want to meet the person whose truck it is, so I can tell them to get that from around here,” said another man who didn’t want to give his name.
Parked in the side yard of a house that’s never been finished, neighbors know the owner as “Crazy Tony.” They say he tows the car around town, parking it in front of Home Depot locations.
“The second time I saw him I waved, and I said ‘wow! It’s a black guy,’” recalls Bryan, who has seen the same man with similar messages at the courthouse in Tampa and at Raymond James Stadium.
That’s right - the owner of the car covered in the N-word and swastikas is not a white supremacist, but instead a black man from Tampa. And he’s made similar messages for other businesses too.
We tracked him down but he wouldn’t discuss what the message means or why he does it. Home Depot didn’t know, either.
“I stopped shopping there,” said another bypasser. “It’s got Home Depot on there.”
There’s nothing illegal about the message, which many in the neighborhood now say they just ignore.
“It doesn’t bother me really… honestly it doesn’t. It’s just a car sitting on some real big tires,” said Hobbs.
But other clearly feel this message is over the line.
“That’s like me putting a cross upside down and burning it every day,” said Gino Bonilla, who spotted the car while parked across the street.
“That’s not cool. There’s a bunch of parts of that that aren’t cool.”