Photo courtesy of Graham West, media and communication director for The Sikh Coalition

Photo courtesy of Graham West, media and communication director for The Sikh Coalition

FBI releases images of Sikh center vandalism suspect

Federal Way Police not able to identify suspect, case inactive pending new leads.

New images have been released by the FBI of the suspect who vandalized a Federal Way Sikh center last month.

In the afternoon of Sept. 17, a suspect broke into the Khalsa Gurmat Center at 2835 S. 344th St. in Federal Way, according to police.

The suspect smashed a glass door, damaged areas and items inside the center, and stole several computers and TVs. Security alarms for the center had been disabled when the suspect destroyed the circuitry.

“We remain grateful to the FBI and the Federal Way Police Department for their continued efforts to investigate this case,” said Sikh Coalition Legal Director Amrith Kaur Aakre. “We are hopeful that the updated images will lead to the apprehension of a suspect, and that we can in turn learn why he committed these terrible acts of vandalism and robbery at a Sikh gurdwara last month.”

The images, enhanced from the video surveillance footage, show a man wearing a black sweatshirt, dark pants and a dark face mask along with a Washington State University Cougars beanie.

The FBI did not speculate on the motive but they did note that the circumstances appear consistent with burglary, said Federal Way Police Cmdr. Casey Jones.

“They contrasted our Sikh incident with other investigations in which synagogues were vandalized with antisemitic symbols and other cases where the suspect communicated hate-speech with victims before committing crimes against them,” he said. “We did not see any specific information that led us to believe the Khalsa Gurmat Center was targeted because of religion.”

The area where the center is located is somewhat secluded and has places that are blocked-off to vehicle access, he said. Additional places have been burglarized or vandalized at this location, such as the Pacific Bonsai Center.

Since 2015, Jones said there have been three vandalisms, seven burglaries and six theft cases on the former Weyerhaeuser property which includes the Pacific Bonsai Center and the Khalsa Gurmat Center.

Police are not able make an identification on the suspect and the case is inactivate, pending any new leads.

Jasmeet Singh, director of the Khalsa Gurmat Center, previously told the Mirror that the vandalism acts were “too far fetched to be random.”

A GoFundMe account has been created to help the Khalsa Gurmat Center with repair costs and to make the facility more secure. As of Sept. 22, the fundraiser had collected $23,424 of $50,000 goal.

An Oct. 18 update noted the center has been making slow progress on facility repairs, thanks to the work of volunteers.

Anyone with information about the incident should contact the Federal Way Police Department at 253-835-2121.

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