Vandalism mentions eco-terror group |

Vandalism mentions eco-terror group

Chad Abraham

The name of an eco-terrorist group responsible for millions of dollars of damage to government and resort complexes was spray-painted on a vehicle in Aspen early Sunday. The case is being treated as domestic terrorism, police said.The car was one of three hit by vandalism. The north wall of the Aspen Ice Garden was also hit with black paint, said Aspen police Sgt. Steve Smith.”ELF” was written on one of the vehicles, Smith said. The Earth Liberation Front is a “serious terrorist threat,” according to the FBI’s website. In October 1998, ELF claimed responsibility for $12 million in damage on Vail Mountain, where four ski lifts, a restaurant, a picnic facility and a utility building were destroyed. The group has also targeted federal and industrial buildings across the United States.The vehicles damaged were a Mercedes SUV, a Volkswagen Vanagon and an Audi automobile. “Sucks” was written on the Mercedes, while “Zulu nations” was spray-painted on the wall of the ice rink. Smith said he didn’t know which of the vehicles was tagged with “ELF.”There was also a “vain attempt to spray paint a penis,” he said.Asked if he thought it was the work of kids or a member of the eco-terrorist group, Smith said, “There’s no telling. Because of the notoriety ELF has, we consider it domestic terrorism.”He said repairs would probably run into the thousands. Information gathered by Aspen investigators will be forwarded to federal authorities. The case will be run through a national database to see if similar incidents exist, Smith said.The vehicles were on Garmisch Street between Durant and Cooper avenues. After a thorough search of the area, investigators have no leads and are seeking the public’s help.If anyone should see a can of spray-paint in the area of the crime, they should call police and not touch it, Smith said. Investigators would seek fingerprints from the can. He said it could have been thrown over someone’s fence into their back yard.Smith added that black spray-paint on fingers could be another sign of involvement.Those with information about this case or anyone who saw someone suspicious early Sunday morning in the area of Garmisch Street between Durant and Cooper are asked to call police at 920-5400. Callers can remain anonymous.Chad Abraham’s e-mail address is

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