August 10, 2005

Air Force officer charged for anti-Bush graffiti

DENVER (Reuters) - A U.S. Air Force colonel has been
charged with painting obscenities on parked cars bearing
pro-President Bush bumper stickers, police said on Wednesday.

Lt. Col. Alexis Fecteau, who supervises 41 full-time and
part-time reservists at the National Security Space Institute
in Colorado Springs, Colo., is suspected of vandalizing 12 cars
at Denver International Airport over a six-month period, Denver
police spokesman Sonny Jackson said.

"Lieutenant Colonel Fecteau has been charged with one count
of felony mischief and six misdemeanor counts related to the
vandalism," Jackson said.

Fecteau, who could not be reached for comment, is scheduled
to be arraigned later this month.

Police said they received numerous complaints dating back
to December 2004 from people with cars bearing Bush or
Bush-Cheney campaign bumper stickers that their vehicles had
been vandalized.

Police set up a bait car with a pro-Bush bumper sticker,
parked it at the airport with a surveillance camera, and
waited. On July 1, the camera recorded a man spray-painting
over the bumper sticker with an expletive.

Investigators traced the license plate of the suspected
vandal to Fecteau, 42, who turned himself into police last week
and was released after posting a $5,000 bond.

Jackson would not comment on a possible motive for the
vandalism, but said one victim had to spend $2,000 on repairs
after it was spray-painted, which led to the felony charge.

Maj. Tina Barber-Matthew, spokeswoman for the U.S. Air
Force Space Command, said the case was under investigation, but
that it would be "premature" to discuss what discipline Fecteau
would face if convicted.

"Until we can validate or invalidate the charges, he is
still on full-duty status," she said.

Barber-Matthew said Fecteau has been in charge at the post
since October 2004. The institute provides ongoing training to
Air Force personnel to keep them current on space technology
and its applications, she said.