In Rare Move, FBI Posts Reward To Solve Hate Crime in N.M.

In a rather rare move, the FBI has posted a $2,000 reward to help solve a hate crime in which a woman who recently immigrated to the United States was assaulted by an attacker who yelled obscenities about Muslims.

The attack occurred on June 5 when “an unknown masked man forced his way into the victim’s home in Albuquerque, N.M.,” the FBI said Thursday in a prepared statement. The FBI, working closely with the Albuquerque Police Department, has labeled the incident a hate crime.

The assailant was described as a white man, “with blue eyes and large muscles” who was about 5-foot-10. He wore a black ski mask that covered his head, except his eyes, blue winter gloves, a baggy, yellow short-sleeved polo shirt with no markings and blue jeans.

Investigators say the suspect punched the woman in the head and stomach “while yelling obscenities about Muslims.” He then tore up citizenship papers belonging to the victim and her family.

“A man forcing himself into a woman’s home, beating her up, and robbing her is a crime that should make people angry,” said Carol K.O. Lee, Special Agent in Charge of the Albuquerque FBI Division.

“When such an attacker also denigrates what he perceives to be his victim’s religion, it should make all Americans feel disgusted,” the FBI official said, pledging that the bureau and Albuquerque police “take this crime very seriously, and we will leave no stone unturned until we bring this culprit to justice.”

The victim and her family, who immigrated to the United States in 2008, are not Muslim. But the FBI did not provide further information about the victim’s age, ethnicity or country of birth.

During the home-invasion assault and robbery, the masked attacker ordered the woman to show him where her gold and money were located. “A substantial amount of gold and cash” was reported stolen by the victim, the FBI said.