Police training (State College Police Department)

A State College Police car on Nov. 8, 2019.

The State College Police Department has opened a hate crime investigation following the defacing of the Martin Luther King Jr. mural at 131 South Fraser St. that occurred overnight on April 16, according to a press release.

The image of King was allegedly stenciled with the words "PATRIOTFRONT.US" in a red substance with an insignia below. The incident is being investigated as a hate crime.

On April 19, SCPD released still images of the persons of interest in the case.

MLK mural deface

State College Borough Manager Tom Fountaine described the incident as an "attack on the pillars of our community."

State College Assistant Police Chief Matt Wilson said the department is utilizing "every tool available" to identify and hold accountable the individuals who committed the crime. 

On April 22, SCPD increased the $1,000 reward to $3,000 for information that leads to an arrest or conviction related to this case. According to a release, the increase was made possible by a local business owner and their wife along with members of the Downtown State College Rotary Club.

Police ask anyone who may have information to contact them at 814-234-7150.

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William Aguirre is a crime and courts reporter at The Daily Collegian. He is a sophomore studying digital and print journalism with a minor in ethics.