The new MAPS sign was vandalized just one week after it was installed. Courtesy photo

UPDATE| New MAPS sign vandalized one week after installation

The new sign at the Muslim Association of Puget Sound (MAPS) in Redmond was vandalized early Saturday morning.

According to a press release from the Redmond Police Department (RPD), the call to report the vandalism came in at 7:43 a.m. The metal front of the sign was torn off and there is some damage to the underlying concrete. There was no writing or other graffiti found in the area, the release states.

“We are investigating this incident thoroughly and believe one suspect damaged the sign just shortly after midnight,” the release states. “The suspect is described as a young adult white male, tall and thin, wearing dark clothing and a dark baseball hat.”

Becky Range, public information officer for RPD, said Monday morning that they got the suspect’s initial description from surveillance footage. RPD released the attached video Monday evening and does not believe the truck pictured in the video and photos (below) is involved, but the driver may be a witness to this crime.

“We know the public wants to help, so we are trying to rush this and give them everything we have, while not compromising the investigation,” she said.

While police are not able to share full details of the investigation just yet, the release states that they are taking this investigation very seriously.

“As the sign was vandalized on Nov. 21 in a similar manner, we know that many in our community have concerns,” the release states. “The same sign, at a place of worship has now been damaged twice. We are investigating both incidents as possible hate crimes and do not know yet if they were committed by the same suspect.”

Police have canvassed the area and spoken with neighboring businesses, but if other employees learn any new information when they return to work, they and anyone else with information about the incident or suspect are asked to call (425) 556-2500.

Redmond Police Chief Kristi Wilson and Mayor John Marchione spoke early Saturday morning and are offering their full support to MAPS.

“I denounce this act of vandalism,” Marchione said. “I was pleased to see the entire community come together to support MAPS after the sign was vandalized in November. The sign restoration ceremony last week showed how inclusive and respectful the Redmond community is, and I’m confident we will again rally to support MAPS.”

This second bout of vandalism occurred a week after the sign was installed with a ceremony that included faith and community members coming together to show their support for the mosque.

“We are dismayed to report that the new MAPS sign launched at our sign restoration ceremony last week was vandalized early this morning,” MAPS President Mahmood Khadeer wrote in a letter to members. “The Redmond police is investigating and has increased presence and patrol around the mosque. Early evidence indicates that this act of hate is the act of a single individual.”

According to the RPD release, police know these acts do not represent the Redmond community and they continue to make the safety of MAPS worshippers and visitors a top priority. Police are coordinating closely with MAPS leadership and staff, who have advised all programs and events will continue as planned today, including its Gingerbread House Building “Together We Stand” event, which is at 1:30 p.m. today.

Tomorrow, the Free/Subsidized Health Clinic for the community at 10 a.m. and Coding in Scratch for Kids and Adults at 5 p.m. will still be held as planned.

“We also ask the community to join us at the press conference and rally to declare Washington a ‘Hate-Free State’ called by Congresswoman-elect Pramila Jayapal on Monday, Dec. 19 at 9:30 a.m. at the Seattle Center Pavilion,” Khadeer wrote. “We remain firm in our commitment and resolve that despite the ugly acts of individuals, we are stronger together and love is greater than hate.”

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