Anti-Christian graffiti defaces 5 Lake Tahoe churches
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Authorities are searching for suspects after five North Lake Tahoe churches were defaced with graffiti featuring “anti-Christianity messages” prior to Easter Sunday morning, an official said.
Washoe County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Jeff Clark, who commands the Incline Village substation, said he learned by 7 a.m. Sunday that the churches — located on McCourry, Village and Northwood boulevards, Mount Rose Highway and Country Club Drive — were vandalized.
“There would be a cross, and it would say ‘this is a lie,’ and different stuff like that,” Clark said. “Two of the churches had it pretty much cleaned off before Easter services … the rest was cleaned off by Monday with the assistance of our inmate work crew.”
The FBI has been notified because the damage involved religious sites.
In Nevada, while a hate crime by law is defined as one committed against a person, Clark said he considers the vandalism in “the realm of being a hate crime,” since the graffiti’s messages denounced a religion.
While detectives were able to collect some evidence from the scenes, Clark said the sheriff’s office had no suspects as of Wednesday.
According to media reports, in Spanish Springs, a sign and wooden cross at a church on Pyramid Way was vandalized and a decorative white cloth symbolic of the holiday was stolen also on Easter Sunday. Officials said the incidents so far have not been linked together.
In late February and early March, Incline Village saw a rash in graffiti incidents, Clark said, although most involved defacing signs and buildings and weren’t anti-religious in nature.
Those cases are being investigated; as of Wednesday, they did not appear to be linked with the church incidents, he said.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact the WCSO Detective Division at 775-328-3320.
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