PORTLAND, Ore. - Vandals in Portland targeted over a dozen expensive SUVs overnight Sunday, throwing acid or paint stripper that damaged the exteriors. Police said no one has claimed responsibility and there is no indication of how many people were involved.
The damage to as many as 15 cars, mostly Hummer models for sale at the Vic Alfonso Cadillac Dealership in Northeast Portland. Paint could be seen peeling off the exterior of one car and others were streaked and stained.
A sociology professor at Portland State University said there are plenty of reasons that could have motivated the vandals to attack the vehicles.
"The Humvee has become sort of this symbol of our culture in general," said PSU Sociology Professor Randy Blazak. "It symbolizes conspicuous consumption, environmental degradation, it symbolizes the war."
The Portland Police Bureau has confirmed that 15 vehicles were damaged. Detectives investigating the case have not released any suspect information. However, they did confirm that agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation are helping in the investigation.
Prof. Blazak indicated that this could be the effort of an eco-terrorism group. "The environmental groups don't typically kill anybody," said Blazak, "but they can cause millions of dollars in damages to property so they get the full attention of federal law enforcement for that reason."
The Earth Liberation Front said on its Web site that it is not claiming responsibility, but said that the act is "an evident response to the impact SUVs and Hummers have on the environment."
The ELF has been in the news recently after the group did take responsibility on their Web site for toppling two radio towers in the Seattle area.
Police said there is a possibility that the incident was not an act of so-called eco-terrorism and that anyone could have damaged the vehicles.