Islamic Centre targeted by vandals

NICOLE MATHEWSON
Last updated 18:31 26/06/2013

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A vandalism spree at the Christchurch Islamic Centre is not believed to be a hate crime.

Representatives of the Lincoln Rd centre contacted police today after finding the premises had been entered and damaged.

Items had been thrown around inside the facility and a donation box containing cash was stolen.

A cat that lived on-site had been daubed with paint, but was not injured. Police called the SPCA to take care of the pet.

Two cars parked in a secure yard at the rear of the property were broken into and items kept inside were stolen. A fire had been lit inside one car, causing minor damage.

A fence at the front of the property had also been defaced with a graffiti-style tag, but police said it might not be connected to last night's break-in.

Sergeant Todd Webley said there was no indication at this stage the break-in was a hate crime.

"There are no slogans or messages, or anything that suggests a racial or cultural motivation for the break-in.

"It has all the hallmarks of an opportunistic burglary, and an initial scene examination suggests the offenders may have gained entry through an insecure window."

Police appealed for anyone with information on the incident, or who may have seen anything suspicious in the area last night or early this morning, to contact them.

"This is a very distressing incident for a community organisation and we will do all we can to identify and apprehend the offenders."

Anyone with information should call Christchurch police on 03 363 7400, or to provide information anonymously, call 0800 555 111.

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- The Press

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