Suspect vandalized Moorhead mosque as ‘a joke,’ court documents say
MOORHEAD, M.N. (Valley News Live) - Official charges have been filed against the man accused of spray painting racist graffiti on a Moorhead Mosque on Saturday night.
22-year-old Benjamin Enderle is charged with a gross misdemeanor of harassment and one felony count of second-degree criminal property damage.
Moorhead Police were dispatched just before 5:30 a.m. Sunday to the Moorhead-Fargo Islamic Community Center at 2215 12th Ave. S. for a report of vandalism. Officers found hate messages directed toward the Islamic faith spray painted on several areas on the outside of the building. Some of the messages included, ‘Go to hell’ and ‘Death to Islam.’
Video surveillance captured images of a suspect wearing a camouflage jacket and dark ski mask.
Just 24 hours after police started investigating, MPD Chief Shannon Monroe says his detectives received a call from a woman who works in the loss prevention office at the Dilworth Walmart.
“Saying, ‘Hey, we found sales of red paint. You had red paint in your news release, so this may be of interest to you,’” Monroe said in a Wednesday interview with Valley News Live.
Court documents say Enderle can be seen on surveillance video buying red spray paint just after 11 a.m. on April 24. Documents say another individual was with Enderle at the time of the purchase.
A search warrant was conducted at Enderle’s home on Tuesday evening and officers took Enderle into custody. Documents say when interviewed, Enderle confessed to spray painting the mosque, but said he did it as a joke. Enderle stated he ‘doesn’t hate them,’ rather, he said he just wanted to get a reaction out of the community and the media.
Documents say Enderle told officers he acted alone and that his roommate did not help him.
If convicted, Enderle could face up to 6 years behind bars.
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