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‘Person Of Interest’ In Buffalo Church Vandalism Identified

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(credit: Buffalo Police Department)

(credit: Buffalo Police Department)

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BUFFALO, Minn. (WCCO) – The Buffalo Police Chief says thanks to a number of tips they have identified the man who is a “person of interest” in acts of vandalism against six churches.

The man is not in custody, but Chief Mitch Weinzetl said he believes the man will be arrested soon.

“We know who it is,” said Weinzetl. “We’re pretty confident based on our investigative efforts, and based on the information we received that we will make an arrest.”

Police say a sixth church in Buffalo was apparently another target in a string of vandalism currently being investigated as a possible bias crime.

According to Weinzetl, damage was discovered at Buffalo United Methodist Church late Tuesday afternoon.

As in some of the other cases, someone threw a softball-sized rock through a stained-glass window.

Investigators think this likely happened in the same timeframe as the other damage, but wasn’t discovered by the church until Tuesday afternoon.

The Buffalo Police Department responded to incidents at several local churches between Saturday and Monday, with four of those incidents involving placement of handwritten posters containing inflammatory messages.

Police say nothing in the posters left behind referenced the upcoming marriage amendment vote, but contain messages insinuating Jesus was gay.

The churches previously reported as targets of vandalism were St. Francis Xavier, Zion Lutheran, 7th Day Adventist, Buffalo Presbyterian and Hosanna Lutheran.

Investigators released a surveillance photo of a person of interest. The picture shows a bearded white male likely in his 20s with reddish blond hair, standing 5 feet, 10 inches tall and weighing 200 to 220 pounds.

Police say, since putting out the surveillance pictures on Tuesday, they have received a number of tips that they are following up on.

Police estimate the overall damage at the churches to total thousands of dollars.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Buffalo Police Department at 763-682-5976.

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