Reporting Rachel Slavik
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Maple Grove Police need your help to find the person responsible for vandalizing a metro church. Sunday morning, surveillance cameras caught the man in action at Pilgrims United Church of Christ.
The church has a reputation for supporting gay rights and has been targeted in the past.
Police released the surveillance video that shows a man in a wheelchair pulling up to Pilgrims United Church of Christ.
He wasn’t there for worship, rather to cause damage to the building.
“Obviously, we’re looking at a crime of sexual orientation, especially given recent events in our state,” said Maple Grove Police Captain Keith Terlinden.
The video shows the man throwing eggs at the church. He also goes off camera.
What you don’t see is the graffiti he’s writing on the walls, making his anti-gay feelings known. Words that were quickly taken down.
“At this point, it doesn’t appear the person responsible for this damage is someone that’s associated with church,” Capt. Terlinden said.
This is the third time Pilgrims United has been targeted.
Similar vandalism happened twice in June.
“Obviously, it’s alarming to the congregation from the very beginning,” Capt. Terlinden said.
Police stepped up patrols in the area preparing for more property damage this Thursday, when same-sex couples can legally marry.
The church has said it would host those same-sex marriage ceremonies.
The vandal struck sooner. Investigators say that gave them a big advantage.
“There’s someone out there who knows who this is,” Capt. Terlinden said.
The penalty for a bias-motivated crime is more severe, if convicted.
For example, a vandalism charge that would be a misdemeanor would raise to a gross misdemeanor under a bias motivated crime charge.
Police think the same person is responsible for all three incidents.
If you have any information, they ask that you call 763-494-6189.