Bennington police investigating racist graffiti incidents

BENNINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) Bennington police say some residents are offering a cash reward to help officers catch those responsible for defacing property with racist slogans.

It happened in two different locations in a 48-hour period.

The most recent discovery was Monday morning at the Recreation Center on Gage Street. A town employee spotted the words "white power" spray-painted on the side of the building. It has since been painted over.

Saturday morning, police say someone tried to break into the Oldcastle Theatre building on Main Street and wrote the phrase "white power" in a red substance on a picnic table. Investigators are testing what the substance could be.

Bennington Police Chief Paul Doucette says the acts are being treated as separate incidents and this is in no way a reflection of the community.

"We have about 16,000 people that live in this community that are excellent people. We employ a lot of people. A lot of people come to Bennington to work every day and this is an outstanding community. We really want people to come to Bennington to experience Vermont and not racism," Doucette said.

The incident at the Oldcastle Theatre Saturday occurred hours before a music troupe from Ghana was scheduled to perform. The performance still took place with an officer on detail at the event.

The two spots where the racist was found are about a 5-minute drive apart.