The investigation into the vandalism of downtown restaurant India Palace is "in limbo" while the FBI analyzes the crime, according to Santa Fe Police Department Capt. Anthony Tapia.

The joint investigation kicked off when SFPD classified the vandalism of the restaurant as a hate crime and tentatively tied it to vandalism of the Plaza obelisk the same night, Sunday, June 21.

Both India Palace (left) and the Plaza obelisk (right) were vandalized the same night in June.
Both India Palace (left) and the Plaza obelisk (right) were vandalized the same night in June.

Along with items found at the scene, Tapia says the FBI is analyzing handwriting from spray-painted words on the walls inside the restaurant. SFPD has not arrested anyone or identified any suspects.

He also says no scenario has been ruled out in the "complex investigation." Until the FBI reports back, Tapia says, investigators are "in limbo here."

"We did receive some pretty large video files from a neighboring business and we're working on reviewing those to see if there's anything of evidentiary value."

Police already released surveillance videos they say show three suspects at the Plaza caught in the act of vandalism. The footage shows people riding bicycles on the streets near the Plaza just before 2 am. One video, apparently shot from under the portal along San Francisco Street, shows far-away figures spray painting the monument.

Tapia says a few tips came in regarding the India Palace vandalism when police first asked for help from the community, but none ended up "beneficial," and no tips were received regarding the vandalism of the obelisk.

The attack made national news, including on CNN and NBC and India-West newspaper, featuring SFR's photos. Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and US Rep. Ben Ray Luján are a few of the prominent politicians who condemned the attacks on social media.

"This hate crime is sickening and appalling," Webber wrote on Twitter. "We need to stand up as a community and denounce this despicable act. We will find whoever did it and punish them to the full extent of the law."

Despite not much movement on the India Palace investigation, repairs and renovations are ongoing, according to Cameron Brown, executive assistant to the Singh family, which owns the restaurant. Police also have not provided an update on the investigation to anyone there.

"The restaurant will hopefully be open soon. We don't have a date. Repairs are coming a long way," Brown writes to SFR. "Just seeing if we're going to do a full open or just take out."

The renovations have been almost completely funded by more than $100,000 raised by Santa Feans immediately after the vandalism. By the Monday night after the crime, five different GoFundMe fundraisers had been started. Two alone raised over $80,000 within days.

The kitchen, floors and patio were the biggest repair jobs, according to Brown. But the graffiti had to be removed from surfaces all around the restaurant, from counters to walls: "White power," "Trump 2020," "go home," and far worse were spray-painted across the building. Some phrases contained threats of violence and racial slurs.

Tables were also overturned, glassware smashed, wine racks emptied, a statue of a goddess was beheaded and computers were stolen. Food warmers were turned over and destroyed. The front desk area was gutted. Among the items stolen or damaged were supplies that the owners and an employee would use to create weekly care packages for downtown's homeless population.

It's not clear why SFPD's part in the investigation has slowed and why no tips have come in to the hotline. Santa Fe Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons involved in the vandalism at the obelisk. There's also still a $1,000 reward in the case of the vandalism at India Palace. Tips for either crime can be submitted at santafecrimestoppers.org or by calling 505-955-5050.