Police in Fort Collins say they are investigating an early-morning Friday vandalism of a Catholic Church as a bias-motivated crime, or what is commonly known as a hate crime.

According to a post on the Fort Collins Police Services Facebook page, around 1:15 a.m. on Friday, May 7, someone spray-painted graffiti and broke exterior glass panels on a church at 1220 University Avenue in Fort Collins.

Police were called around 1:30 a.m. and conducted a search with the help of a police canine. No damage or graffiti was found inside the church, and due to the content and location of the graffiti, police believe the crime was motivated by bias.

Generally speaking, graffiti intended to provoke hatred of a particular group or organization is displayed where it is most visible. The usually means outside of a building as opposed to inside, where fewer people can see it.

According to the post:

"Using fear and destruction to make a point is completely unacceptable. If you want to make your voice heard, do it by exchanging thoughts and ideas, not by committing criminal acts," said Chief Jeff Swoboda. "We need anyone with information to come forward so this suspect can be held accountable."
Anyone with information about the suspect or incident is encouraged to contact Officer Ethan Van Sickle at 970-221-6555. People who want to remain anonymous can also contact Crime Stoppers of Larimer County at 970-221-6868 or www.stopcriminals.org.''

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