BURLINGTON (CBS) – – Two teenagers have been charged in the “malicious vandalism” of a mosque in Burlington.
Burlington police were called Sunday to the Islamic Center of Burlington, where they found “USA” spray-painted repeatedly on the outside walls of the building. They also found several smashed eggs that were thrown at the building.
Authorities announced the arrest of two 18-year-old men in connection with the vandalism on Monday afternoon.
Burlington residents Cameron Cappella and Derrik Demone have been charged with felony counts of malicious destruction of property and tagging property. They were drinking before spray-painting the building, police say.
They appeared in a Woburn court on Monday, but said nothing, according to WBZ-TV’s Bill Shields.
Police said they arrested the suspects late Monday morning thanks to tips from the community.
In a press conference on Monday, Police Chief Michael Kent said the vandalism was “a cowardly act by individuals who masked themselves to create disorder in fear in targeting a house of worship.”
“We were able to quickly close this shameful case involving a hate crime in our community,” he added. “This behavior is not tolerated in town and the suspects will be held responsible for their actions.”
Surveillance footage from outside the Islamic Center captured two masked men near the building around the time it was vandalized. Police say a detective recognized the car in the video, and the men
A third person stayed in a white Ford Crown Victoria. As of Monday afternoon, no charges had been brought against that individual.
“They were not afraid of being caught in the cameras,” said Munir Gandeva, the Islamic Center of Burlington’s president and founder. “It is very serious.”
Worshipers were inside the mosque when it was vandalized.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations in Massachusetts says it will be asking the FBI to investigate.
The Anti-Defamation League of New England put out a statement thanking police for taking the vandalism seriously and making quick arrests.
“There is nothing patriotic about attacking Muslims,” the League said. “People of all faiths are entitld to worship without fear of harassment, intimidation or violence.”
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Karyn Regal reports