SALEM, Mass. — A 25-year-old Beverly man is accused of “multiple incidents” of anti-LGBTQIA+ graffiti and vandalism throughout Salem, police said Wednesday.
Mohammed Saeed Rajab is facing multiple vandalism-related charges including destruction of a place of worship and hate crimes, police said in a statement.
Essex County District Attorney Paul Tucker said Rajab is charged with five counts related to hate incidents that occurred in Salem. Rajab pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in Salem District Court on Wednesday.
Judge Randy Chapman ordered Rajab held on $2,500 bail, with a GPS curfew. He was also ordered to stay out of Salem, have no firearms or dangerous weapons and to surrender his passport, Tucker said.
On Sept. 13, Salem Police responded to multiple incidents of anti-LGBTQIA+ graffiti and vandalism that had occurred throughout the City of Salem, police said.
The doors at the Tabernacle Congregational Church at 50 Washington St. and the Pride flag at the Northeast Animal Shelter at 347 Highland Ave. were defaced with anti-LGBTQIA+ graffiti, police said. A Pride flag at Lappin Park was also torn down, and several Pride-themed crosswalks were defaced with paint.
Salem Police detectives launched an investigation and, working with detectives from the Beverly Police Department, identified Rajab as a suspect, police said.
“I am so proud of the hard work that my detectives did to resolve this case,” Salem Police Chief Lucas Miller said in a statement. “We have made this investigation our highest priority. I realize that this arrest does not erase the harm caused by Mr. Rajab, but I hope that it shows the commitment that the Salem Police Department has to our friends, our neighbors, and our colleagues in the LGBTQ community.”
Rajab is due back in court on Oct. 11 for a pretrial hearing.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.
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