Police: Two crosses burned into lawn of local mosque

WATERPORT, N.Y. (WIVB) – A biased crime is the subject of a police investigation in Orleans County; police are searching for the person who burned crosses into the lawn of a religious institution.

Deputies say they responded to the scene of the burned crosses at about 9:30 p.m. on Fuller Road on Thursday night. The person who burned the grass utilized an accelerant like gasoline to outline the crosses before igniting them on the Mosque’s lawn.

Investigators worked throughout the morning to search for additional evidence and witnesses to attempt to bring a person  to justice, and in the afternoon, officers identified three people in connection with the case.

“The reaction on social media is people are upset with the misunderstanding of what the place is,” Orleans County Sheriff’s Deputy Investigator C.J. Laubacher said. “It’s a place for people to worship their religion; they’re not bad people, they’re good people and whoever did this, I hope they get caught.”

Police say the three people who they identified as responsible are all under 21-years-old; they will reportedly surrender themselves on Tuesday.

A picture, sent in by a News 4 viewer, depicts one of the two crosses that police are calling a bias crime. Deputies say they have responded to the mosque before to investigate potential hate crimes, including an incident in 2010 that led to arrests.

The investigation is continuing, but police say they don’t expect anybody else to be identified as responsible.

“We were at the mosque today, and we are going to try to up our patrols in the area,” Laubacher said. “We don’t see the problem with getting the extra manpower to avoid any future problems and maybe develop more information for this investigation.”

As deputies investigate the crime, they’re asking the public to report crimes like this to them. Anybody can call information in to Orleans County Sheriff’s Deputies at (585) 589-5527.

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