Salem vandalism suspect found, charged with hate crimes, police chief says


After Salem police responded to several incidents of anti-LGBTQ graffiti and vandalism appearing recently around the city, a man suspected to be behind the acts is in custody, police announced Wednesday.

Mohammed Saeed Rajab, 25, of Beverly, was arrested on multiple vandalism-related charges, including destruction of a place of worship and hate crimes, according to a statement released by Salem police.

On Sept. 13, reports were made to police of graffiti that read “Cancel LGBTQ 2024″ on a door outside of the Tabernacle Congregational Church, as well as graffiti found on the Pride flag at the Northeast Animal Shelter, on several Pride-themed crosswalks and a Pride flag torn down at Lappin Park, police said Wednesday, Sept. 20.

An investigation led Salem police to work with Beverly Police Department detectives, which led them to Rajab, police said.

“I am so proud of the hard work that my detectives did to resolve this case,” Salem Police Chief Lucas Miller said in the statement. “We have made this investigation our highest priority. I release that this arrest does not erase the harm caused by Mr. Rajab, but I hope that it shows the commitment that the Salem Police Department has to our friends, our neighbors and our colleagues in the LGBTQ community.”

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