DALTON, Georgia(WDEF) - Police are investigating whether or not an act of vandalism is someone's prank or a hate crime.
"It was just utterly devastating when we saw what had happened," said Dalton Salvation Army Major Art Fultz. He was referring to the damage left behind by vandals who targeted the Salvation Army Thrift Store.
It happened late Thursday night.
Store windows were knocked out and cryptic messages were spray painted on store property.
"I struggle to understand who in the world would do this. This is a season when we are at work trying to help families and children and this at all times of the year to make whatever statement was most disappointing," Fultz said.
Vandals not only target the store, they also targeted a truck which was recently purchased after the Salvation Army spent months saving enough money to pay for it.
But it's not just the broken glass and spray painted words that have authorities concerned. It's also the message. Both The letter A for Anonymous and the word Anonymous were painted all over the property.
"When you're seeing cryptic messages and stuff like that pop up on an area business then certainly that's disturbing and something that we're going to investigate and try to find the people responsible," said DPD spokesperson Bruce Frazier.
But who is Anonymous? What do they stand for? And why a Salvation Army thrift store as a target to relay messages? Those are questions that investigators are trying to answer and they haven't ruled out the incident as a hate crime.
Unfortunately, the store did not have security cameras but that will soon change.
"The addition of a video camera inside and out here are options now that move much further in priority," Fritz said.
Authorities said the Salvation Army has been a target for vandalism in the past but this latest incident is something different due to the cryptic messages painted on the property.