Man Charged With Hate Crime After Allegedly Throwing Banana Peels at Black Family

A Massachusetts man is accused of racially motivated vandalism after allegedly throwing banana peels into a black family's Lexington driveway dozens of times over the past year.

Police say 49-year-old Robert Ivarson, also of Lexington, was arrested Dec. 31 on several charges, including three counts of civil rights violations and one count of criminal harassment.

Ivarson allegedly threw the banana peels into the driveway of a black family in the middle of the night between 30 and 40 times during the past year.

He was caught when detectives set up surveillance video of the victims' home after they filed a report on Dec. 16, according to police.

The neighbor, Tago Celestin, said she is worried for the safety of her family, which includes her husband and 11-year-old daughter.

"I just feel scared and depressed about what happened because I would never think something would happen here," Celestin said."I'm very scared."

She said she first became scared when her car was vandalized two weeks ago.

"After I got two flat tires I say that’s mean - that person harassed me racially and that’s why I went to Lexington police," Celestin said.

Prosecutors said Ivarson has been convicted on gun and assault charges in the past.

"This is someone who has clear anger issues, he has a troubled history of violent offenses," said the prosecutor.

He was ordered to be held on $10,000 cash bail. In the event he posts it, he will have to wear a GPS monitoring bracelet and stay under house arrest and away from the victims.

His next court date is Feb. 6.

It's unclear if he has an attorney.

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