MOUNTAINAIR, N.M. (KRQE) – A New Mexico family believes they were targeted recently because of their Jewish faith. Last week, they found a burned cross in the yard of their Mountainair home.
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Tom and Merrie Bigham moved to Mountainair just over a year and a half ago. They say it’s been an adjustment settling into the small New Mexico town. “We don’t belong to any temple right now here in Mountainair,” said Merrie Bigham. “It’s important because we’ve never really experienced this before.”
However, their quiet living took a dark turn last week. An early morning walk last Thursday gave them quite the surprise. “I let the dog out every morning and then I went out the door,” said Tom Bigham. “I went straight out and there was a burned cross in the yard.”
They called the Mountainair Police Department to make a report, and while there are no leads as to who is responsible, the Bighams have their suspicions. The Jewish couple believes they were targeted because of their faith and the police report suggests it’s being looked into as a hate crime. Tom says they’ve even gotten the FBI involved.
“He walked around with me, he took some pictures,” said Tom. “I don’t feel safe here at all.”
The Bighams say it’s not the first problem they’ve had since moving to Mountainair. They say they put up a fence after issues with someone routinely flashing their headlights at the home, both day and night.
“He’d park there sometimes at night and flick his lights then leave the high beams on,” said Tom. “I would hope something would change, but I have my doubts.”
Now, they say they’re afraid to go to temple or even leave the house for long. The couple says it’s out of fear of being retaliated against. “We’re fairly new residents here,” said Merrie. “It’s important for us to just feel safe.”
KRQE News 13 reached out to the Mountainair Police Department to see if they have any leads. They tell us the case has been turned over to the local FBI office for review.