Updated: Wednesday, 31 Mar 2010, 6:29 PM EDT
Published : Wednesday, 31 Mar 2010, 12:51 PM EDT
FENNVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) - Police in Allegan County are investigating the vandalism of a local business. The owner of the business considers the vandalism a hate crime.
Sally Howard noticed the message "Fags don't belong" accompanied by a swastika over the weekend. A neighbor told her about it Saturday morning. It was scrawled on the stockade fence that surrounds Campit Outdoor Resort , a gay and lesbian resort Howard has owned for about 10 years with her business partner.
Campit Outdoor Resort has been in operation for about 50 years. Howard said the Fennville and Ganges Township communities have been respectful and supportive of her business over the years. Howard believes whomever wrote the hateful message is expressing fear of the gay and lesbian community, and is in the minority in doing so.
"It's ok with me if they don't happen to be gay-friendly," said Howard. "It's not ok with me they choose to express it like this."
Howard called the message intimidating and offensive to the entire gay community.
Howard filed a police report with the Allegan County Sheriff's Department.
Lt. Frank Baker called the incident uncommon. Baker said the department is taking the case of vandalism very seriously, because of the targeting and intimidating nature of what was written. Baker said it did not rise to the level of a hate crime because no violence was involved, but he acknowledged the potential for violence to follow the threat.
"When [a vandalist] singles out anyone for a specific reason, it leads you to believe this is something more than possibly just a random act of damage," said Baker.
Baker is hoping anyone with information about the vandalism will come forward, citing it might be the only opportunity for police to catch up with the culprit.