Air Force officer allegedly vandalized cars with pro-Bush bumper stickers

(Gold9472: If he did that to my car, I would break his fucking arms.)

by: Chip Yost 9NEWS Investigative Reporter
Created: 8/9/2005 7:13 PM MDT - Updated: 8/10/2005 7:47 AM MDT

DENVER - Denver police say a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force has admitted to vandalizing cars bearing pro-President Bush bumper stickers at Denver International Airport.

Police say he's responsible for thousands of dollars in damage on at least 12 cars. Lt. Colonel Alexis Fecteau, 42, of Colorado Springs, turned himself in to Denver police Friday.

He is director of reserve operations at the National Security Space Institute in Colorado Springs, in charge of more than 40 full-time and traditional reservists.

In the arrest affidavit, Denver police say Fecteau admitted to damaging several cars after police conducted a sting-operation to catch the anti-Bush vandal.

"It was pretty good police work," said Denver Police spokesman Sonny Jackson. He said his department took this case very seriously. "You still have a right to express yourself in this country and you shouldn't have your car vandalized because of it."

Jackson said one of the detectives put out a bait car in late June, complete with a Bush/Cheney 2004 bumper sticker, in the west economy lot at DIA. On July 1st, with a security camera zoomed in to watch, an SUV drove by the bait car, and a short time later a man entered the scene. The man in the video appeared to spray paint something on the back of the car and then continued to do something on the side of the car.

When officers returned to the bait car, the bumper sticker had been painted over and the words "F--- Bush" were spray-painted on the side of the car.

Police used airport exit logs to trace the license plate of the SUV believed to be seen in the bait car surveillance video to Fecteau.

When Fecteau's SUV was spotted parked in the DIA lot on a subsequent visit, police impounded it. When Fecteau approached police about the whereabouts of his SUV, a DPD detective confronted him. Court records show that at that time, Fecteau admitted to the DIA vandalism and said he started damaging vehicles around "election time" last year.

The affidavit shows Fecteau told investigators he didn't mean the graffiti to be a threat against President Bush. He went on to admit he has scratched the same kind of graffiti into "a couple of cars" with his "keys and key holder."

Inside Fecteau's 2001 Ford Excursion, police found a bin full of products, including a tube of Park Tube Polylube, a grease used for bicycle repairs, a spray can of Klean Strip Auto Strip paint thinner, and Krylon Textured Shimmer paint.

Fecteau faces one count of felony criminal mischief and at least five other misdemeanor counts of criminal mischief. Fecteau has posted a $5,000 bond and is due back in court later this month.

Air Force spokesperson Major Tina Barber-Matthew told 9News in a phone interview Tuesday the service hasn't taken action against Fecteau in regards to the vandalism. Instead, Matthew said, the Air Force plans to allow due process through local law enforcement. Calls to Fecteau's work and home were not returned.

One of the vandalized cars belongs to Jeremy Kinney, owner of Kinney Oil Co. of Denver. Kinney is a long-time friend of President George W. Bush. The two attended Yale together in the 1960s and have remained friends ever since.

"You feel violated in a sense when something like this happens, but it was more disappointment than anger," said Kinney, who worked on both of George W. Bush's presidential campaigns.

Kinney had a "Bush for President" bumper sticker stuck on a tool-box located on his 1992 Ford truck. When he returned from a flight on June 19, he noticed the bumper sticker had been painted over and the words "F--- Bush" were painted on the side of the car.

It cost Kinney more than $250 to fix the damage. But, he said, there is a larger price to pay for this kind of vandalism.

"It just reinforced to me the lack of political discourse that takes place in this country, polite political discourse," Kinney said.

"There is so much anger in politics that I find it not only counter-productive but annoying and disappointing."