The vandal wore a bandanna to cover his face and a cap. The person, who appeared to be male, all but sauntered through a few brief recorded frames — as though he was in no hurry.
According to surveillance cameras at God’s Ten Commandments Park, the vandalism occurred during the first few minutes of Monday morning at the site east of Columbia Falls along U.S. 2.
Philip Klevmoen, owner of the park, said this latest incident is the third or fourth occurrence of vandalism at the park since its opening in 2014.
He believes the vandal has likely been the same person in each case, primarily because the person has scrawled “Praise Allah” each time in lettering that appears similar.
The vandalism in years past has occasionally been worse, when the person or persons responsible have slashed billboards at the park.
This time, the vandal used a sharp object, probably a knife, to damage a banner and a tent. He covered an image of Jesus’ face with paint and added breasts to the figure. He spray-painted “adulterer” on a display featuring Thomas Jefferson and left behind other evidence of his presence that ranged from the profane to the nonsensical.
Klevmoen estimated the vandalism caused thousands of dollars in damage.
He was asked to speculate about the motive.
“I think it’s the disdain and the hatred for all that we’re doing and what is happening in America,” he said.
“The Bible says that if they’re going to persecute me, they’re going to persecute you,” Klevmoen said.
“Do we have hatred? No, I have none,” he said.
Klevmoen acknowledged there was opposition to God’s Ten Commandments Park before it opened. He said opponents “went to the city, they went to the county, they went to the state and federal government.”
Now, he said he just wants to know who is responsible for this latest incident.
“I’d like to know who did it so he won’t do it again,” Klevmoen said.
The Flathead County Sheriff’s Office is investigating.
Klevmoen is offering a $500 reward for the identity of the person responsible. He can be reached at 702-271-9288.
Reporter Duncan Adams may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 758-4407.