ROY -- Police are investigating spray-painted graffiti at Roy Junior High School as a potential hate crime, Police Chief Greg Whinham said Tuesday.
Somebody sneaked onto the grounds of the school, at 5400 S. 2100 West, early Tuesday and painted messages on the building and other items.
"The nature of the graffiti is such that it qualifies as hate speech, and we are investigating the possibility of charging the person with a hate crime," Whinham said. "Some of the messages alluded to doing harm to Christians."
One message, "bloodbath 9-26-11," could have been foreshadowing a violent incident at the school next Monday, Whinham said, but he added that criminals rarely give this clear a sign of their intentions. He said police and school officials don't expect any violent incident at the school on Sept. 26, but they are taking precautions just in case that was an omen.
"We've been Googling that phrase and date all afternoon, but we couldn't find any specific connection to that date," he said. "We are on alert for any suspicious activity at any date and any location, but we will give special attention to that Monday. If people are aware of any special connection to that date, we would like them to contact us with that information."
He said Weber School District officials will make the decision whether school will be in session Monday.
By midmorning, the school had cleaned almost all traces of the paint from trees, windows, brick walls and benches. District spokesman Nate Taggart said the graffiti did not appear to be gang-related, but before it was cleaned up, school resource officers from Roy City Police Department took photos to compare it to other graffiti.
Taggart said much of the graffiti was nonsensical, such as pentagrams and the word "Sacrifice" sprayed in green on a bench, but he did confirm that it included vague threats.
"It may have very well have been a prank," Taggart said, "but we always take it seriously."
One mother who called the Standard-Examiner said her daughter, a student at the school. was frightened by some of the comments in the graffiti.
Whinham said police do not have a suspect at this time, but a security camera caught a vandal in action, and the video gives the department good leads to follow.
"We have a good time line of when it happened," Whinham said. "It shows a person getting into that courtyard area about 2:30 (Tuesday) morning."
A $100 confidential reward is being offered by the school district for information leading to the arrest of the individual.
"We would like to know who this person was and what was their intent," Taggart said.
Anyone with information about the graffiti is asked to call Roy police.