Police investigating hate-crime incident at CMC

No suspects have been identified in case of racially offensive graffiti left on vehicle

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Several racially offensive slurs were found written in ketchup and mustard on a car parked in one of the Colorado Mountain College parking lots Friday morning.

Steamboat Springs police Capt. Joel Rae said the vandalism is being classified as a hate crime because of the explicit racial slurs written all over the car and a reference to the KKK on the back windshield.

A CMC employee noticed the car at about 9 a.m. and called police.

The car, a 1983 Chevrolet Blazer, had been donated to the nonprofit Western Colorado Congress.

Rae said that there are no suspects in the incident, but officers took a report and are investigating the crime.

Rae said hate crimes are isolated in Steamboat Springs and that they do not occur frequently.

Rae also said the slurs were not directed at the owner of the vehicle because no one of African-American descent has ever owned the vehicle.

Maggie Berglund, who works with Western Colorado Congress, said she heard about the crime when the previous owner of the vehicle called her. Berglund then looked out the window and went to where the car was.

Berglund's office is in CMC's Bogue Hall, and she routinely parked the car in one of the school's parking lots.

Berglund said she does not think the car was targeted specifically.

"I think people just saw what seemed to be an abandoned car and committed the crime because it was there," she said. "There's no reason for anyone to have targeted that car."

Berglund said that one of the car's tires was flat, and that may have been an indicator to the culprit or culprits that the car was abandoned.

Rae said there was no other damage to the car.

A CMC employee cleaned the condiment graffiti off the vehicle.

Berglund said the car was going to be sold Friday to a local buyer, and the vandalism sped up the purchasing process.

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