Watch CBS News

Police: Video shows persons of interest in vandalism at Hialeah women's clinic

Vandals target Hialeah pregnancy clinic
Vandals target Hialeah pregnancy clinic 02:04

HIALEAH - New surveillance video obtained by CBS4 shows two persons of interest in a hate crime at a Hialeah clinic that helps women with their pregnancies.

Hialeah police confirm that the graffiti that was left on the front of the Pregnancy Help Medical Clinics at 390 W 49 Street was a hate crime and they also confirm that the two people seen on the video, wearing facial masks are "persons of interest."

Hialeah's mayor is also calling this incident a "hate crime" and the co-founder of Heartbeat of Miami who started the Pregnancy Help Medical Clinics 15 years ago, says she is heartbroken.

Co-founder Martha Avila shared photos and video with CBS4's Peter D'Oench showing the two people walking through the parking lot around 1:15 a.m. Sunday morning. 

Police said it shows a female aiming a laser pointer at a surveillance camera that is disabled by spray paint.

The messages say, "If abortions aren't safe, then neither are you" and "Our rage will not stop."

Avila told CBS4's Peter D'Oench, "This is very painful because everything we have is through donations and we don't charge anything to the women we serve."

"It's a lot of sacrifice. We spent a lot of money for cameras because we received threats over the phone. We have nothing to do with politics. I mean we were here before and will continue to be here. We have been here for 15 years as of this Thursday. That is our anniversary. We have four clinics in Miami-Dade."

"This causes fear to our patients and to the women we serve," she said. "Fortunately, volunteers came and painted over the graffiti and fixed the cameras, but this was all money wasted when we could have been buying pregnancy tests and buying items for ultrasounds and medical supplies."

"If we are for empowering women, what is the point of hurting us. I truly want this to stop and I want to know our patients are safe. The F.B.I. and Homeland Security and Hialeah Police detectives, they all came to us. I am grateful we are not alone."

A spokesman for the FBI, said he could not confirm whether the agency was investigating.

Hialeah Mayor Steve Bovo said he felt the criminals were most likely those who were upset by the recent Supreme Court decision overturning Roe V. Wade that gave women constitutional protections for abortions.

"It's unfortunate that somebody doesn't agree with the court's decision and then takes to vandalism and destroying of property. You would think society would have matured. People feel like they can commit vandalism and not be held accountable. Really I think this is done for intimidation and scare tactics at a center that is trying to provide much-needed counseling," said Bovo.

Bovo said, "I think this borders on a hate crime. I think it is an extremist, radical fringe of folks."

Bovo had sent out a tweet saying, "The Hialeah Police Department is investigating what I consider a hate crime carried out by a radical individual or group of individuals who are motivated by destruction and usurping the rule of law."

"Heartbeat of Miami is an organization whose mission is counseling expectant mothers and helping babies come to term." 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.