Arrest made in Islamic Center vandalism case
Fort Collins police made an arrest Monday in the vandalism early Sunday of the Islamic Center of Fort Collins.
Police identified Joseph Scott Giaquinto, 35, as the suspect in the Sunday vandalism. Giaquinto was arrested Monday evening on the charges of criminal mischief, a felony; thirddegree trespassing; and bias-motivated crime.
“We will not tolerate acts of hatred in our community, and I hope this arrest sends that message loud and clear,” Police Chief John Hutto said. “While the building can be repaired, this incident caused deeper hurt that won’t just go away. I urge all of our citizens to continue showing the kind of support and acceptance demonstrated at the Islamic Center rally on Sunday night.”
Giaquinto was booked into the Larimer County jail.
“This incident has a very real impact on our Muslim friends and neighbors,” Hutto said. “The criminal act against their sacred space is unacceptable.”
Rocks and a Bible were thrown into the center through windows that shattered.
The Islamic Center of Fort Collins said on Facebook that the vandal broke the building’s back door at about 4 a.m. Sunday and inflicted “quite a bit of damage.”
No injuries were reported.
“He tried to break in using a screwdriver, kicking at the door. Finally he broke two back doors with five-pound rocks,” said Tawfik Aboellail, president of the center. “Thank God no one was here.”
“The Bible being thrown into the prayer hall is a message in itself,” Aboellail said. “We are peaceful people. We love our Christian and Jewish brothers. We don’t have any problems with anyone.”
A rally in support of the center, which predominantly serves students from nearby Colorado State University, drew a big crowd on Sunday evening.
U.S. Rep. Jared Police, DBoulder, called the vandalism “unacceptable.”
“It’s time for us to stand in unity,” he said on Twitter. “These acts must end.”