Lake Tahoe church vandalism crimes: Reward upped to $12,500 for clues | SierraSun.com

Lake Tahoe church vandalism crimes: Reward upped to $12,500 for clues

This image shows the suspect sometime overnight on Saturday, Aug. 29, at one of the churches in Incline Village.
Courtesy WCSO |

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Authorities have released grainy images of a suspect they believe is at least partly responsible for a rash of church vandalism incidents in a North Lake Tahoe community.

The suspect — whose likeness was captured in video surveillance footage from one of the most recent crimes — is described as a “tall, thin, possibly white male seen wearing a dark colored apron and goggles,” according to a Washoe County Sheriff’s Office statement Friday.

Authorities believe the person in the video (and possibly others) is responsible for costing thousands of dollars in damage this past weekend at The St. Francis of Assisi Catholic church at 701 Mt. Rose Highway and The Village Church, a Presbyterian church at 736 McCourry Blvd., both in Incline Village.

Damage included smashed doors and windows, and what appeared to be repeated attempts to saw down the wooden cross outside at The Village Church.

The same suspect returned overnight Tuesday, Sept. 2, to The Village Church, but “he didn’t really do much,” WCSO Deputy Jeff McCaskill said Friday.

It marked the latest in a trend of crimes related to vandalism or graffiti at places of worship in the Nevada town.

St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church at 341 Village Blvd. and another church were vandalized overnight on Aug. 7, when a vandal or vandals tagged St. Patrick’s and a vehicle outside with anti-Christian graffiti.

WCSO is working with the FBI, which is also investigating a series of vandalisms that occurred on Easter Sunday in Incline Village.

In that incident, the town’s five churches were also tagged with anti-Christianity messages.

This week, parishioners of several Incline churches announced they are offering an additional $6,500 reward for the arrest and successful prosecution of a suspect or suspects in the crimes, according to WCSO.

The reward will be added to the $5,000 reward offered by the FBI, and another $1,000 offered by Secret Witness — bringing the total to $12,500.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the WCSO Incline Village Substation at 775-832-4107; or Secret Witness at 775-322-4900.

Information regarding this case can also be relayed to the FBI by calling 1-800-CALL-FBI.