Branstetter (L) and Wickham Booking Photos
Branstetter (L) and Wickham Booking Photos

Two Men Arrested for Anti-Semitic Hate Crime in Coto de Caza

Two men have been arrested and one has so far evaded capture in an April 6 alleged hate-crime attack in Coto de Caza, the Associated Press reports, noting that the classy south OC enclave is "familiar to reality-TV show viewers as the home of 'The Real Housewives of Orange County.' " The pair, Matthew Branstetter and Nolan Wickham, both 19, were booked for "investigation of robbery and committing a hate crime."

Sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino told KTTV Fox 11 that the three suspects approached the victim in a Coto de Caza park, demanding money. When he claimed not to have any cash handy, the trio "began hitting and kicking him before striking him from behind with a tree branch" while "yelling anti-Semitic slurs."

According to an article on the Rancho Santa Margarita Patch website, both men are from that city and were arrested after the victim, who underwent surgery April 7, told authorities that he recognized one of his assailants. The article noted that the attack took place at a "youth sports park at Via Pajaro and Vista del Verde at about 8 pm" and that the after the assault, the alleged perps walked off with the victim's "jacket, wallet and cell phone."

A Facebook page registered to a Nolan Wickham of Rancho Santa Margarita who matches the police booking photo says that he has 489 friends, is in a relationship, and works at Partyland OC. Ironically, given the nature of the charges against him, he claims to be a fan of the anti-Nazi revenge film Inglourious Basterds.

The victim is expected to make a full recovery. Branstetter and Wickham are being held for $50,000 bail for suspicion of robbery and committing a hate crime.


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