LEXINGTON, Mo. - Hundreds of residents in the small town of Lexington, Mo., awoke Monday morning to an unexpected and unwanted delivery: recruitment fliers from the Ku Klux Klan.
The fliers were packed into plastic baggies filled with gravel and tossed onto the lawns of homes and businesses in the predawn hours of Monday morning.
"Franklin Street, South Street, just about any street you can name, they were just riding around throwing them out," Lexington Police Chief Don Rector said.
Rector estimated his office has recovered 100 of the bags and that hundreds more were likely distributed around town.
The baggies contain fliers of at least two different types. One promotes a "neighborhood watch" and features the image of a hooded Klansman, advising residents to call the KKK about crime in their area.
The other flier obtained by 41 Action News appears designed to recruit women. It calls the group a "White Christian Organization," not a hate group, and espouses to protect American freedoms.
Frank Ancona, a leader and spokesman for the Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, which claims credit for the fliers, defended them in an interview with 41 Action News. He said members of his organization in Lexington requested the "flier drop."
"It's the fastest, most efficient way to get out word," Ancona said.
Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups like the KKK, said such "lit drops" are common tactics for white supremacist groups and are difficult to prosecute.
"There's no such thing as a freestanding hate crime," Potok said.
Unless they contain a specific violent threat, most fliers such as these are constitutionally protected speech and many municipalities are left pushing littering charges against suspects-- if they're ever caught at all.
Most Lexington residents interviewed were shocked by the literature and said their content wasn't welcome here.
A boy around 8-years-old said he found 20 bags at his apartment complex in the last two days and asked a reporter if everything would be alright.
John Hanna, who found a bag while working as a landscaper on Monday, and who's biracial family he believes makes him a target of such organizations, said he would not be frightened by the fliers.
"The only intimidation a person can do to me is what I let a person do," Hanna said, "So the intimidation is not there."