State College police are asking for the public’s assistance in identifying two suspects they believe were involved with placing recruitment stickers from a white supremacist group on property around the downtown last week.
More than 50 stickers were placed in more than 30 locations, including light polls, traffic signals and directory signs, and were discovered late Thursday afternoon. Some also were found around the Penn State campus, State College Chief John Gardner said during Monday night’s borough council meeting.
Police said the two suspects pictured are among four people who are ‘persons of interest in these cases.’
Gardner said two State College detectives and a Penn State police detective are working in conjunction on the case.
The stickers, bearing the name and website of the white supremacist group Patriot Front, were also found in downtown Bellefonte. A Pride mural alongside Jake’s Cards and Games, 131 W. High St. in Bellefonte, was defaced on Friday with the same hate group’s website spray painted in multiple places, as well as an image of the United States with one of the group’s slogans, ‘Not stolen, conquered.’
The mural was repainted by community members on Saturday afternoon.
In State College, ordinance enforcement and public works staff canvassed the borough on Thursday and Friday, removing the stickers and cataloguing locations where they were found to aid in the police investigation.
‘What we’ve learned is this is a national movement, obviously, and what we’re able to ascertain right now is that this is sort of a recruitment drive,’ Gardner said, adding that local police learned a similar incident occurred on the Penn State Altoona campus in December.
In 2019, ProPublica called Patriot Front ‘perhaps the most active white supremacist group in the nation.’ Its organization occurs largely in private Internet communications, which BuzzFeed News reported in October ‘reveal a sophisticated network of extremists who are training for violence.’
Gardner said one of the detectives working the case in State College is authorized to access FBI systems and the department will be utilizing those resources.
‘We’re going to use our full ability and full authority to try to identify who these individuals are,’ Gardner said.
‘We’re not going to leave anything to chance.’
State College police are looking to identify two suspects they say were involved with placing a hate group’s stickers around the downtown on Jan. 7, 2021. Photo provided | State College Police Department