Police have arrested 17-year-old Yashua Plair after he allegedly pulled a knife on a 15-year-old Mexican boy and stole his iPod while yelling anti-Mexican slurs last week on Staten Island. Plair is charged with robbery and menacing as hate crimes, the latest in a string of hate-crime-related incidents on the island. Some Staten Island residents say racism is not to blame, though: "We have a bunch of Mexicans that live right there that never been robbed, never been touched," said neighbor Brooklyn St. John. "We have Hindus, we have all different types of people. He just got robbed because he had something that they wanted." Resident Carlos Sanches made an even less compelling case, however, and one unlikely to hold up in court: "I don't think it's a hate crime, it's just a recession out there."
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