Photo courtesy of the Sikh Coalition

Photo courtesy of the Sikh Coalition

Police, FBI investigating possible hate crime at Federal Way Sikh center

Burglars strike community center, school and place of worship on Sept. 17.

Federal Way Police and the FBI are investigating after a Sikh community center and place of worship was burglarized.

Around 2 p.m. Sept. 17, a suspect broke into the Khalsa Gurmat Center at 2835 S. 344th St., according to Cmdr. Kurt Schwan of Federal Way Police. The suspect smashed a glass door, damaged several areas and items inside the center, and stole several computers and TVs.

“The main Divaan hall (prayer area) was badly damaged, control panels were destroyed, and windows were broken,” according to a post by the Khalsa Gurmat Center. “The alarms were disabled by destroying the circuitry.”

Volunteers of the center discovered the destruction the following morning when they arrived to begin cooking and preparing for the weekend classes and services, the center said.

A male suspect was captured on video surveillance, Schwan said. Officers requested assistance in processing the scene from King County Automated Fingerprint Identification System, who sent a technician to collect fingerprint evidence.

“Based on video surveillance, it is clear that the suspect willfully and maliciously vandalized this place of importance to the local Sikh community,” said Amrith Kaur Aakre, a legal director for The Sikh Coalition, in a statement. “We are glad to hear that the Federal Way Police Department is exploring this case from every angle, and we will continue communicating with Khalsa Gurmat Center leaders, local and federal law enforcement, and elected officials in order to ensure this investigation keeps moving forward.”

As of Sept. 20, Federal Way Police are continuing to investigate and are collaborating with the FBI in an attempt to identify the suspect, Schwan said.

“The Federal Way Police Department is committed to completing a thorough investigation into this incident, including whether or not any biases were involved by the suspect that perpetrated this crime,” Schwan said in a statement.

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. 20, the fundraiser had collected $10,214 of $50,000 goal.

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

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Photo courtesy of the Khalsa Gurmat Center

Photo courtesy of the Khalsa Gurmat Center

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