Temple Vandalism

Walls throughout the Swaminarayan Temple on Bardstown Road in Louisville are still marred with hateful graffiti. (WDRB Photo)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Louisville Metro Police say they’ve arrested a juvenile for the vandalism that took place at a Hindu temple earlier this week.

According to a spokesperson for LMPD, a 17-year-old JCPS student was arrested on Thursday. He's been charged with third-degree burglary and first-degree criminal mischief.

The arrest was made within two hours of a tip that came in on Thursday.

"Detective Fisher and Detective Ellison, they were able to bring in a juvenile to the division and he was charged," said Det. Sgt. Russell Montfort, LMPD 6th Division.

The fact that the suspect is a juvenile means he will not be identified.

"It was a great community effort and I’m glad that in 2-3 days we were able to get some closure to this," said Detective Sgt. Montfort.

Sgt. Montfort said there was a religious aspect to the graffiti that was sprayed in the temple, but added that police would not charge the suspect with a hate crime.

"We don’t necessarily charge as a hate crime," he said, adding that a judge would look at those issues during sentencing.

The crime took place at Swaminarayan Temple, a Hindu temple located at 4032 Bardstown Road, sometime between the end of services on Sunday morning and Tuesday.

Someone broke in and desecrated the temple. A poster of a Hindu god was marred with black spray-paint. A chair in the temple's sanctuary was brutally punctured with a knife, which was left lodged in the seat. Most disturbing to the temple members: Someone spray-painted a hateful message on a bulletin board, which denounced temple worshipers as "foreign b*****s."

"We were trying to make sense of what was going on," said Suhas Kulkarni, Hindu Temple Member.

Kulkarni said the graffiti, the vandalism, the downright hateful messages left inside his place of worship, did more damage than the eye can see. "They were kind of really shaken," he said.

Calling it a "cowardly and unacceptable act," Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer is inviting the public to join his staff at the temple on Saturday, Feb. 2, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to help clean up the vandalism and "paint away the hate."

"I can not say more about the mayor, the city, the police chief and everybody, all the elected officials, everybody jumped in," said Kulkarni.

He also said, The cleanup aspect is obviously something that will take place but it's more for solidarity."

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