Tahoe authorities seek ‘person of interest’ in church vandalism crimes
KINGS BEACH, Calif. — Authorities are seeking help locating a person of interest in connection with a string of church vandalism incidents along Lake Tahoe’s North Shore.
The most recent crimes involved the spray-painting of “offensive statements” on churches on the California side of the lake.
Two Kings Beach churches — Kings Beach United Methodist at 8425 Dolly Varden Ave. and Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church at 8363 Steelhead Ave. — and Christ the King Lutheran Church at 3125 North Lake Blvd. in Tahoe City were hit sometime overnight on Sept. 13.
“We do have a person of interest who was seen leaving the area of one of the churches,” Placer County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Dave Hunt said Monday.
An earlier story about these crimes reported only one Kings Beach church had been hit, based on information provided to the media on Sept. 15 by PCSO.
The Sun confirmed Monday, however, that the two churches, and the one in Tahoe City — three total — were vandalized.
When asked, Hunt and PCSO Det. John Riella — who is leading the investigation — said the department isn’t able to release a description of the person of interest.
“It’s similar activity to (the Incline Village crimes),” Hunt said. “We’re currently following up on investigations and telling people to try and keep an eye out in the surrounding neighborhoods.”
PCSO is working with the Washoe County’s Sheriff’s Office and the FBI on the crimes, as several churches have been vandalized in Incline Village since Easter Sunday 2015, including more-aggressive attempts in recent weeks to break windows and attempts to cut down a wooden cross.
As of Monday, there have been no additional reported vandalism incidents at any other regional churches, including those in Truckee.
Anyone with information regarding the Tahoe City and Kings Beach crimes is urged to contact Riella at 530-581-6325.
Those wishing to remain anonymous and be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000 should contact Placer County Crime Stoppers at 800-923-8191, or visit http://www.placercrimestoppers.com.
In Incline Village, various churches and entities have partnered to offer a $12,500 reward for the crimes there.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the WCSO Incline Village Substation at 775-832-4107; or Secret Witness at 775-322-4900.