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Police investigate possible hate crimes at Bakersfield church

September 17, 2013|By Ari Bloomekatz

Bakersfield police are investigating two fires and graffiti at a predominantly black church as possible hate crimes.

Members of the Cain Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Church believe racism was behind two fires -- separated by a week -- and hate graffiti that accompanied the most recent blaze that was discovered Monday morning, according to the Bakersfield Californian.

No one was injured in the fires, which caused only superficial damage to the church.

In an email to the Los Angeles Times, Michaela Sims of the Bakersfield Police Department said a detective has been assigned to the case and police officials were in communication with the church.

"We are continuing with our investigation," Sims said. "We do not have any suspect information at this time."

Church officials could not immediately be reached Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Bakersfield Fire Department Battalion Chief Anthony Galagza told the Californian that the cause of the two fires remained under investigation.

“At this point, we don’t know if the two fires were related,” he said.

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Twitter: @aribloomekatz | Facebook

ari.bloomekatz@latimes.com

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