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Bloomington mosque vandalized; police ask for help identifying suspect

Bloomington Suspect.jpg
Posted at 11:16 PM, Oct 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-20 21:14:29-04

BLOOMINGTON — Police in Bloomington are working to identify a man who was caught on video vandalizing a local mosque.

Surveillance video of the suspect showed him destroying a new HVAC unit, a new fence, cameras, and picnic tables.

The incident happened early Monday morning and police said the man spent about 45 minutes on the property.

Capt. Ryan Pedigo with the Bloomington Police Dept. released the following statement:

"BPD is seeking the public's assistance in identifying the suspect in the attached photos. The suspect vandalized the Islamic Center of Bloomington during the early-morning hours of October 18th. Below is a brief description of what was reported to BPD:

On October 18th at approximately 6:40 a.m., an officer of BPD responded to the Islamic Center of Bloomington, located in the 1900 block of E Atwater Avenue, for a report of prior vandalism. The responding officer spoke to the President of the Center, who stated that he had been able to review video surveillance footage. The footage shows what appears to be a white male with short hair and layered clothing entering the playground area of the Center at approximately 1:13 a.m. on October 18th. The man can be seen in the footage damaging several picnic tables and dumping trash cans over. He can also be seen breaking the metal fencing around the playground. Further, the man damaged an air conditioning unit by pulling wires from it, broke one of the security cameras that points towards the playground, and broke several toys that were in the playground prior to leaving the area around 2:00 a.m.

Anyone with information about the crime, or who may know the identity of the suspect, is asked to call Detective John Alberson at (812)339-4477."

In a statement shared through the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), mosque officials said the following:

"This incident has sent chills down our collective community’s spine. We do not feel safe and feel that the threat, which we believe is a hate crime, has not been dealt with adequately.  The lone perpetrator captured in security footage clearly targeted our mosque, not touching any other cars, property, or residences in the area. While we worry that inaction may send the wrong message to those who think we are low hanging fruit, we note that many allies have warmly reached out to us; we are so glad to be a part of the loving and supportive Bloomington community and look forward to spending many more years among you.”  

Bloomington Police said detectives used DNA swabs to collect evidence as part of their investigation. Those swabs have been sent to a state police lab to see if they contain any DNA that can be used to identify the suspect.

Police are asking anyone who recognizes him to reach out to Bloomington Police.