DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Police are looking for help as they work to track down a suspect accused of vandalizing a Dayton church.
2 NEWS has obtained surveillance video from Miami Valley Crime Stoppers that shows a suspect police say could be responsible for other vandalism at churches in the area.
You can see the suspect approach the church and throw something, possibly a rock, into one of the windows of the Holy Family Catholic Church.
Officials tells 2 NEWS that Holy Family Catholic Church, located at 140 S. Findlay St., has been hit by vandals 11 times in the past six months.
“Unfortunately, we don’t have a lot of description to go off of,” said Maj. Joe Wiesman with the Dayton Police Department. “He appears to be a white male, about six foot tall with medium build. He tends to wear a hoodie or something to disguise his face while he commits these crimes.”
When asked about the incident, church officials said, “We don’t hate him, but we hate what he is doing.”
Police are trying to figure out if the suspect in the video is the same person who vandalized other houses of worship, including a Dayton mosque about six weeks ago.
“Even [if] it’s the same guy or a different guy, it’s still the same hate,” said Ayman Salem, vice chairman of the Islamic Society of Greater Dayton.
Two windows that were smashed at the Al-Rahman Mosque have been repaired, Salem said, but another two still need to be replaced.
“We are more aware of what’s happening around us, keeping our eyes open,” he said. “But it shouldn’t be like that to feel worry and feel threatened in a place that you are going for peace.”
Dayton police are continuing to investigate the incidents at both houses of worship, according to officials.
“I really hope when they find the guy, they consider charging him with a hate crime,” Salem said. “Because if we don’t stop the hate crimes when they are small, they’re going to get bigger.”
A reward is being offered for information that can help lead to the arrest of the suspect in the video as well as the person responsible for the mosque vandalism.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 937-222-STOP (7867).