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Two charged in Hawley graffiti spree

Authorities charged two men Thursday in connection with a vandalism spree in Hawley, Minn., last week and asked for help finding one of them. Kolbi James Smith, 19, and Justin Grant Hinkle, 20, both Hawley, face charges of first-degree criminal d...

Authorities charged two men Thursday in connection with a vandalism spree in Hawley, Minn., last week and asked for help finding one of them.

Kolbi James Smith, 19, and Justin Grant Hinkle, 20, both Hawley, face charges of first-degree criminal damage to property and making terroristic threats.

Smith was being held in the Cass County Jail Thursday after he was arrested Wednesday night on a warrant on unrelated charges.

Hinkle told investigators by phone earlier this week that he would come in for questioning but has yet to do so, Clay County Sheriff Bill Bergquist said.

Anyone with information about Hinkle's whereabouts is asked to notify his or her local law enforcement agency.

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Early last Friday morning, graffiti was found spray-painted on a number of buildings around Hawley, including homes, sheds and a church.

The graffiti included swastikas and racial slurs.

In one case, a can of paint was thrown through the window of a home with a note attached to it containing a threat against a Hawley police officer, court documents state.

The note was written on a page torn from a phone book.

A search of the garage at the home where Smith lives revealed a phone book with that page number missing and indentations in the remaining pages that matched words found in the note, court documents state.

Bergquist said total damages from the spree were about $6,000.

Hawley Police Chief Ernest Rhodes thanked Hawley residents for assisting in the investigation, "especially some of the youth of the city," who he said were a great help.

Clay County court and jail records indicate Smith was recently released from jail after serving several months behind bars.

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The sentence addressed a number of charges filed against Smith, including one case in which he pleaded guilty to stealing a laptop computer from a vehicle.

Juvenile court records show Hinkle admitted to burglarizing Hawley High School in 2003.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555

I'm a reporter and a photographer and sometimes I create videos to go with my stories.

I graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead and in my time with The Forum I have covered a number of beats, from cops and courts to business and education.

I've also written about UFOs, ghosts, dinosaur bones and the planet Pluto.

You may reach me by phone at 701-241-5555, or by email at dolson@forumcomm.com
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