Victoria police investigating ‘targeted’ church graffiti as a hate crime

Victoria police investigating 'targeted' church graffiti as a hate crime
Victoria police handout
Two suspects are seen interacting with a male witness after St. Andrew's Church was damaged with graffiti, Victoria police say. Sept. 12, 2021.

Victoria police are looking for witnesses after a downtown church was spray-painted with graffiti in what they’re calling a targeted hate crime.

Police say two people were caught on surveillance video spray-painting St. Andrew’s Cathedral at Blanshard and View streets just after 11 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 12.

Cameras outside the church not only caught the vandals in action, but also captured witnesses including a man seen speaking with one of the suspects, according to police.

Police say in one of the videos, the witness is approached by a second suspect “who appears to be acting as a lookout for the first suspect.”

Another video appears to show both suspects in the 1200-block of Blanshard Street with one again acting as a lookout while the other spray-paints graffiti, police said.

In that video, a female witness is seen walking past the suspects in action.

Police are looking to speak with both witnesses, who are not believed to be suspects in the investigation.

Messages were written in red paint on the church’s doors including the words “murderer” and “genocide” written on the Blanshard Street side of the building.

The St. Andrew’s Church vandalism occurred the same night as several similar instances of vandalism in Oak Bay and Saanich.

“Targeting places of worship for political purposes is against the Criminal Code of Canada and not welcome in Victoria or Esquimalt,” Victoria police said.

“The nature of the targeting and some of the vandalism meets the standard for investigation as a hate-motivated incident or hate crime. Officers are looking to identify and speak with the two suspects.”

Anyone with information about the incident or witnesses is asked to call police at 250-995-7654 extension 1, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.


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