DENVER (CBS4)– Police in Denver have arrested a man believed to be responsible for spray painting swastikas on a church that used to be a synagogue.
Police say 29-year-old Frank Maya had paint on his shoes and hands when they arrested him at The Church in the City synagogue located at 1580 Gaylord Street near East High School.
“I feel violated,” said Tamara Hoskins, Church in the City facility manager.
Hoskins said Maya came to the church to get a hot meal as part of their daily ministry.
“It was his first time ever coming into the building and I arrived as it was happening and I was just taken by it because we’ve been trying to say this is God’s house, this is not yours,” said Hoskins.
According to police, Maya has a prior criminal history and resisted arrest.
CBS4 crews were there as Maya was questioned and taken into custody. He is being held on Investigation of 2nd Degree Assault on a Peace Officer, Investigation of Criminal Mischief
Investigation of Bias-motivated crime – Property Damage.
Scott Levin, director of the Denver chapter of the Anti-Defamation League, says they are deeply saddened by the vandalism at Church in the City-Beth Abraham. He added that all people deserve to worship in peace and safety, free from any attempt to intimidate them or prevent them from practicing their faith.
“I think it should get the attention it does because when we see hateful incidents we need to call them out, identify them for what they are. And when it comes to anti-Semitic incidents we’ve seen a rise in the past few years,” he told CBS4’s Dominic Garcia.
Church in the City employees say even though they are hurt by the vandalism, it won’t stop them from continuing their charitable work.
“We’re doing good for the community and I believe this one is trying to take our good away,” said Hoskins. “We open our home, this is a home to all of us. It’s our family, because we here at Church in the City are family.”