The South Asian Times

18 August 2019 23:45 PM

Kentucky Swaminarayan temple: Police arrest juvenile for vandalism

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Louisville, KY: Police in Kentucky say a juvenile suspect has been charged with burglary and criminal mischief in connection with vandalism at a Hindu temple.

Louisville Metro Police Detective Russell Montfort told news outlets the 17-year-old suspect was arrested Thursday after police received a tip.

Authorities say the teen broke windows and spray-painted "repugnant messages of hate" and black crosses inside the Swaminarayan Temple sometime between Sunday evening and Tuesday morning.

Police Chief Steve Conrad said there were xenophobic and sexist messages and someone spray-painted the eyes of a Hindu religious figure with black paint.

He said 'too many incidents like this' had taken place in Louisville, referring to a past vandalism incident at the Louisville Islamic Centre and heightened safety concerns at a local Sikh temple following a deadly temple shooting in Wisconsin in 2012.

'The desecration of this temple is heartbreaking,' Conrad said, adding, 'I want the people of this temple to know that we will stand with them. We will do our best to keep them safe and we will do what we need to do to make Louisville a safer city.'

Raj Patel, a spokesman for the temple, said no members were inside when the vandalism happened. The temple has been located at its current address for about five years and usually attracts 60 to 100 people for Sunday worship.


Conrad called the vandalism a hate crime on Wednesday, but Montfort said on Friday that police wouldn't charge the suspect with a hate crime. He said a judge would take the circumstances into consideration during sentencing. (Agencies)

Update: 08 Feb, 2019