Ar­rest made in Is­lamic Cen­ter van­dal­ism case

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Jesse Paul

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.”

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