Update at 12:49 p.m. Dec. 12
Police are treating four instances of vandalism in Bloomington as connected incidences, Bloomington Police Sgt. Dana Cole said Thursday morning.
Because of similar substances in three of the cases used and close proximity of all four, the local incidences have been assigned to a BPD detective.
The vandalism at Schooner Creek Farm is not being handled by BPD since the farm is in Brown County, Indiana, but Cole said BPD plans to cooperate to find out if it is connected as well.
Three homes, two cars and a business were vandalized sometime between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning in acts that included fake blood, rusty nails and smashed car windows.
At this time, it is unknown who committed these acts or if they are all connected.
Jeremy Hogan, reporter and owner of the online news source the Bloomingtonian, said his wife found a blood-like substance in front of the doorway while leaving for work around 8 a.m. It was splashed across the porch and wintery welcome mat.
“I’m generally not somebody who has a lot of enemies,” Hogan said.
Later in the day, what appeared to be the same substance was found in his mailbox. Vandalism of mailboxes, which are considered federal property, can result in up to a $250,000 fine or three years in prison, according to the U.S. Postal Service.
Hogan said he thinks the vandalism is related to the work he does as a journalist. He said he has had run-ins with activist groups in the past few months and believes this may be part of those clashes.
“To come and do this at somebody’s house when they’re inside, though, that’s one of the bolder things I’ve seen from protesters,” Hogan said.
Sarah Dye and Doug Mackey of Schooner Creek Farm in Brown County said they found dozens of rusted nails at the top of their driveway Wednesday morning.
Dye said she only went to check after Hogan reached out to tell her about his own vandalism.
“We probably would’ve noticed it when we got flat tires,” Dye said.
The farm was also targeted in October of last year, Dye said. At that time, they found fake blood in their mailbox with the word “fascist” spray painted nearby and their American flag torn down.
The nails still weren’t picked up by 2 p.m. Wednesday. Dye said their neighbor was going to bring a magnet so they could make sure to do a thorough job.
While scanning over the 3.5-inch nails, Mackey said it looked like some had been buried under leaves to make them harder to see.
“It’s definitely just one more incident in a long line of incidents of harassment all year,” Dye said.
Josh Graham, a self-identified conservative and supporter of Schooner Creek, had the back windshields smashed in on two cars belonging to him and his family.
He found two bricks that said “Happy Holidays XOXO” nearby and believes these are what were used to smash the cars.
Graham said his friends have started a GoFundMe for him because he thinks the damage could cost over $1,000, which is especially difficult for him with bills to pay and Christmas coming up.
“That’s probably why they did it, because they know you couldn’t afford it,” Graham said.
Graham said he thinks he was hit for his conservative views and support of Schooner Creek. He said he has been receiving threatening messages from unknown numbers since local anti-fascist activists released his personal information on Facebook in October.
According to a statement from Bloomington Police Department Cpt. Ryan Pedigo, IU Professor Eric Rasmusen's front door was hit with a red liquid around 1:45 a.m. It was found after the sound of a slow-moving vehicle outside and a knock on the door.
Rasmusen could not be reached for comment by the time of publication.
The Women’s Care Center, a pregnancy center located next to Planned Parenthood, was also targeted with fake blood in front of its doorway that counselors found on their way into work.
Center director Michelle Summitt said the center gives information to women about their pregnancy, including abortion information. She said it refers women to medical care but not abortion providers.
A 2017 article from the Herald-Times said the center has an “anti-abortion, or ‘life-affirming’ message” despite its lack of religious affiliation.
Despite past incidents, there hasn’t been recent threats that made her think anything imminent was going to happen to the center, Summitt said.
“We haven’t had really any negativity lately,” Summitt said.
Summitt said the door and stoop were quickly cleaned up.
“I just know it’s unfortunate,” Summitt said.
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