FORT COLLINS, Colo. – Police on Monday identified and arrested the man suspected of vandalizing the Islamic Center of Fort Collins early Sunday morning.
Joseph Scott Giaquinto, 35, faces charges of criminal mischief, third-degree trespassing and bias-motivated crime for the incident.
Police say Giaquinto targeted the Islamic Center and threw several large rocks and a Bible through glass doors and into the prayer area of the mosque.
“We will not tolerate acts of hatred in our community, and I hope this arrest sends that message loud and clear,” said Fort Collins Police Chief John Hutto. “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.”
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations called earlier Monday for authorities to investigate the incident as a hate crime, which falls under Fort Collins’s bias-motivated crime statute.
"I have not in 20 years seen a case where somebody used a Bible to desecrate another faith's place of worship," said Corey Saylor, of CAIR. He knows what happened here isn't isolated.
Soon-to-be-released data will reveal a more-than 50 percent jump in 2016 in anti-Muslim cases from the previous year.
"Now it's more we're seeing vandalism, arson, people firing shots at mosques," Saylor said.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the mosque, a spokesperson told Denver7. The money will be used to invest in a strong security system and also to repair the glass doors.
Hundreds of people showed up to the center Sunday in support of the city’s Muslim community and mosque-goers, and the support poured over to Monday.
"It’s just a show of love and support and it’s really beautiful to see," said Lamine Kane, the youth coordinator of the Islamic Center of Fort Collins. "Hopefully we see this as a sign that in the future, we don’t wait until something happens. We look at signs and we constantly come together.”
Giaquinto is being held at the Larimer County jail. A mugshot was not immediately available.
Colorado court records show he has previously pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor theft of between $750 and $2,500 charge in Fort Collins.