Satanists Claim Theft Is Hate Crime
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Colo. (CBS4)- A local couple who claim to be Satanists believe they're a victim of a hate crime and were targeted because of their religious beliefs.
Someone cut down a political poster stating, "VOTE SATAN" from their front porch where they live in Mountain View, a suburb of Denver.
"We are Satanists... Satanists," said Luigi Bellaviste.
Luigi and Angie Bellaviste belong to the Church of Satan. They even have a Satanic Bible in their home.
The couple is upset because a poster they had hanging from their front porch was recently cut down.
It wasn't very popular with some neighbors.
"Everybody that sees that sign says, 'What is going on with those people?,'" said neighbor Mary Morasco.
The couple's home and yard are decorated with items like a Christmas tree that has been painted black, skulls and the number 666. They believe the cutting down of the poster was an attack on their religious beliefs.
"I feel like we're being treated unfairly because it's not a so-called mainstream religion," said Luigi.
"I know of many people who have the Virgin Mary and tons of Jesus memorabilia 'I Love Jesus' and what is the difference?" said Angie.
Despite their opinion on the couple's choice of lawn ornaments, most of the Bellaviste's neighbors are on their side.
"It's still their property. It's still their house. They have a right to say whatever they have to say," said one neighbor.
"Everyone has their own religion... to each his own, I guess," said another neighbor.
The couple wants the police to consider the incident a hate crime because their religion is protected by the U.S. Constitution.
"Had that been the Star of David or a verse from the Koran," said Luigi, "or something like that got damaged by somebody against those beliefs that would certainly be considered a hate crime."
An officer with the Mountain View Police Department said the report will likely be filed as theft because there was no obvious attack on the couple's church or religious beliefs.
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