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Hate crimes suspected in vandalism at 2 Arcadia churches

January 31, 2013 | 11:01 am

Police are treating two separate incidents of church vandalism and small fires being set in Arcadia as potential religious hate crimes.

Arcadia detectives said the first attack occurred either late Jan. 19 or early Jan. 20 at the Church of the Good Shepherd at 400 W. Duarte Road.

The suspects forced open a church office door and ransacked the area while discharging a fire extinguisher, burning part of a portrait hanging on a wall and tossing clergy robes on the ground. They also stole a guitar and sound equipment.

On Wednesday morning, police were called to Holy Angeles Church on Campus Drive, where they found someone had broken into the administration building and ignited a small fire in the hallway that torched the carpet.

Inside a small chapel, two religious statues were broken, along with electronics. Detectives believe those responsible had broken in through a window.

"It is our belief the crimes may be related, and it is our desire to inform the community and specifically, other area religious facilities to be on watch for similar or suspicious activity,' said Arcadia Police Sgt Tom Le Veque.

The department is warning religious institutions to be on guard.


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-- Richard Winton