Vandalized car called "hate crime’ |

Vandalized car called "hate crime’

by Christine Ina Casillas
The Minturn Police Department is investigating a possible hate crime in which this 1997 purple Camero was damaged beyond repair, said Minturn Police Chief Lorenzo Martinez.

In the nearly 20 years that Minturn Police Chief Lorenzo Martinez has lived in the valley, never has he seen a car as badly vandalized as the one he found Friday morning.

It wasn’t that the car was completely destroyed, Martinez said, but the hateful words and symbols scrawled on the besieged vehicle.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” Martinez said. “Our society doesn’t tolerate hate crimes, and we’re not going to tolerate hate crimes in Minturn.”

The damage done to the 1997 purple Chevy Camero not only shook up the owner of the car, a man from Leadville, but also the chief and his deputies.

All four tires were slashed. The windows were broken. Oil was poured down the fuel tank. The windows and side mirrors were smashed, as well. The stereo was stolen.

Written along the sides of the car were words such as “wet back,” phrases saying, “Go home, spick,” Martinez said.

“What really bothered me was the swastikas that were all over the car,” he said. “My biggest concern is the hate crime that was depicted with this kind of vandalism and it’s very disappointing. The intimidation of the crime is very disappointing.”

The car wasn’t abandoned. The driver, whose name has been withheld, is a construction worker from Leadville.

“He’s had some run-ins with people but nothing serious,” Martinez said. “He’s not an illegal immigrant, but he has had some run-ins. He’s pretty upset, though. It’s his mother’s car.”

The driver left the car just north of the Turntable Restaurant in Minturn Thursday evening around 9:30. When he arrived to pick it up at 6:30 a.m. Friday, he immediately called the police.

“We don’t typically see this kind of crime here in the valley,” Martinez said. “The markings painted and scratched into the car … the car was severely vandalized.”

As long as Martinez has been with the Minturn Police Department, he said he couldn’t recall an incident of this caliber.

“We have an idea of who may have done this,” he said.

The Minturn Police suspect two people were involved with the crime, he said. The police department is investigating the incident.

Christine Ina Casillas can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 607 or at

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