FORT COLLINS, Colo. — The FBI Denver Field Office is looking into recent vandalism at churches in Boulder and Fort Collins that happened just days apart.
A spokeswoman for the Denver FBI office said damage to religious property can be considered a federal crime.
The most recent incident happened on May 7 at a church located at 1220 University Ave. in Fort Collins, according to Fort Collins Police Services (FCPS).
Around 1:15 a.m. that day, an unknown person spray painted the front doors of the church and broke exterior glass panels FCPS said.
Within 15 minutes, officers responded and searched the building with the help of K-9 Colt. No damage was found inside the church.
Due to the location and nature of the graffiti content, FCPS said they're investigating the incident as a bias-motivated crime.
"Using fear and destruction to make a point is completely unacceptable. If you want to make your voice heard, do it by exchanging thoughts and ideas, not by committing criminal acts," said Chief Jeff Swoboda. "We need anyone with information to come forward so this suspect can be held accountable."
Anyone with information about the suspect or incident is encouraged to contact Officer Ethan Van Sickle at 970-221-6555. People who want to remain anonymous can also contact Crime Stoppers of Larimer County at 970-221-6868 or www.stopcriminals.org.
Vandalism was reported at Sacred Heart of Mary Church, located at 6739 S. Boulder Road. a few days earlier on May 4.
The Boulder County Sheriff's Office (BCSO) said it responded to the church and found graffiti with anti-church and messages that support the right to an abortion.
The same church was vandalized in September of last year with similar messages, although BCSO said they can't say at this time whether the two incidents are connected.
The sheriff's office said they're looking at security footage related to the latest incident and said they believe multiple suspects were involved.
The damage in September included slashed tires on the church's maintenance truck, smashed safety glass windows, smashed eggs against some of the buildings, and spray paint graffiti on the church's signs and building. Much of the graffiti conveyed a pro-choice stance.
Anyone who may have witnessed any suspicious activity late on May 3 or early on May 4 should contact BCSO at 303-441-4444.
In a tweet, the FBI said that their Denver office and the U.S. Attorney's Office were looking into the incidents. Tips or information can also be passed along to the FBI by calling 303-629-7171.
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