LMPD Detective Sgt. Russell Montfort announced the arrest of a juvenile for the vandalism of a Hindu temple | Photo by Joe Sonka

The Louisville Metro Police Department announced Friday that it has made an arrest related to the vandalism of a Hindu temple in Buechel earlier this week, which LMPD Chief Steve Conrad called a hate crime.

One of several spray-painted messages in the vandalism of the Swaminarayn Temple | Photo by Joe Sonka

Detective Sgt. Russell Montfort said that a 17-year-old white male was charged with third-degree burglary and first-degree criminal mischief on Thursday afternoon. This juvenile confessed to the crime and was charged less than three hours after the detective received a tip that morning, Montfort said.

LMPS does not release the identity of those charged with crimes who are under the age of 18, but Montfort said that the juvenile was a student in Jefferson County Public Schools.

City leaders condemned the vandalism of the Swaminarayan Temple at a news conference Wednesday, which included broken windows and spray painted vulgar insults directed at foreigners and crosses with references to Jesus.

At the news conference Wednesday, Conrad called the desecration of the temple a hate crime, but Montfort repeated that the possibility of an enhanced hate crime being attached to the other charges will be up to prosecutors in the case.

Mayor Greg Fischer, LMPD and temple leaders have invited the public to the Swaminarayan Temple on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to help with the cleanup effort in a show of unity and compassion in the face of hatred and bigotry. The public is encouraged to bring painting supplies such as buckets and long-handled rollers.

Joe Sonka is a staff writer at Insider Louisville focusing on government, politics, education and public safety. He is a former news editor and staff writer at LEO Weekly and has also freelanced for The Nation and ThinkProgress. He has won first place awards from the Louisville Metro chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists in the categories of Health Reporting, Enterprise Reporting, Government/Politics, Minority/Women’s Affairs Reporting, Continuing Coverage and Best Blog. Email him at [email protected]


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