The Khalsa Gurmat Center, a Sikh gurdwara and community center in Federal Way, Seattle, Washington, was broken into and vandalized on Friday, September 17 in what the Sikh community called an unnerving incident.
Police have not made any arrest so far but the police department told indica News that the surveillance footage shows a lone white male as the suspect.
Police Commander Kurt E. Schwan, media spokesperson at the Federal Way Police Department, told indica news over email: “Federal Way police officers responded to the Sikh Community Center in Federal Way regarding a burglary that had occurred previously, on Sept. 17, around 2:00 pm.
“When officers arrived they met with a community member who reported an unknown subject had forced entry into the building, damaged/vandalized items inside the structure, and stole a number of electronics items.”
In response to a question on whether it was a hate crime, the officer wrote: “The Federal Way Police Department is committed to completing a thorough investigation into this incident, including whether or not any biases were involved by the suspect that perpetrated this crime.
“This case has been assigned to our Criminal Investigations Section and detectives will continue the investigation while also keeping the Sikh community leaders apprised of any pertinent information regarding the case,” he added.
Jasmeet Singh, director at the Khalsa Gurmat Center, said it is an independent community-based nonprofit organization focused on education, empowerment and civic engagement for kids and community members.
“The way it’s been vandalized… it’s hard, it’s unnerving that somebody would come and do this,” Singh told indica News over phone.
“The suspect entered through the front door, broke the glass and opened the nob. He vandalized everything, threw away music instruments like tabla, stole three computers, a 70-inch television installed on the wall, the prayer area was vandalized…
“I don’t see any reason that somebody would go to that extent of damage,” Singh said. “It doesn’t look like a random incident.. This makes is very frightening and it is a kind of unsettling — in terms of what is happening in a community.”
The suspect, sources said, was wearing a mask and was a well-dressed, tall man.
“We are deeply saddened to share that Khalsa Gurmat Center in Federal Way, Washington, was vandalized and robbed,” the Sikh Coalition, retained by the gurdwara to provide free legal assistance, said in a statement.