An apparent hate crime, complete with the word “FAGS” spray-painted on a bedroom door in the Fairpark neighborhood of Salt Lake City is now believed to be an alleged dispute between roommates.
Michael Lentz posted on Facebook Friday, Sept. 20, that someone entered his home, stole thousands of dollars worth of his belongings and his dog, and defaced his door with the word “FAGS” and a paw print.
“So today I came home to find I was robbed again. They took everything of value from the house, [including] thousands of dollars worth of electronics, gear, and leather. Then to make things worse, they stole my dog. My sweet little pug Gil is missing. They were so kind as to make it a hate crime by spray painting my door. If you see my dog, please let me know,” Lentz wrote.
Luckily, his dog was returned to him, having been found by a family at Liberty Park, without tags, miles from his home.
Three GoFundMe campaigns were set up, one by Lentz’ mother to help him replace his belongings and find a new, safer place to live, another by members of the pups and Handlers community to replace his leather and pup gear, and another purportedly by the mother of roommate Jimmy Daniels.
“I am raising money for my son, Mike Lentz. He has been robbed twice. This time it is an obvious hate crime, they even took his dog,” Julie Lentz wrote in the GoFundMe description. “Mike is one of the most caring, kind people I have ever known. He has a heart of gold. Mike is quiet and reserved and doesn’t like a lot of attention. He loves animals and has always been very attached to a dog, and to have his sweet Gil stolen is even worse. Mike is a hard worker but getting robbed twice doesn’t help him get into a better place.”
That campaign has raised nearly $4,695 at the time of this article was written.
“Two pup friends of mine house was just broken into, and the person stole all of their gear and also their dog. Not only did the person [steal] their valuable and personal belongings, they also vandalized the place. A bunch of gear was stolen which included multiple leather and neoprene gear, specifically pup hoods. Pup meeko received his neoprene pup hood literally today, and now it is gone. I am making this page to help them retrieve or possibly buy new gear so they can move past this horrible situation,” wrote bruiser.
That campaign has raised $705.
The campaign for Daniels is listed as being created by his mother, Betty Oakley. Yet, emails and phone calls to her from QSaltLake Magazine, asking if she indeed created it, have gone unreturned.
“My Son, Jimmy Daniels’ house was burglarized and vandalized,” the campaign description reads. “All of their electronics, video games, over $1000 cash, leather clothing, and even his roommate Michael’s dog was stolen.”
“His friends already moved out over the weekend, and I found my son alone and depressed sleeping in his bedroom with all the doors locked. He was recently hospitalized for his depression and has seizures, so it’s very dangerous for him to be left alone,” the write-up continued. “My boy is the kindest, most giving, loving young man you will ever meet, and he desperately needs help.”
The fundraiser for Daniels raised $1,335.
At the time Salt Lake City Police Department detectives confirmed they were investigating the alleged crimes as a hate crime. Since then, however, much of the stolen goods have been retrieved from the house of Daniels’ sister. So now police are looking into him as being the perpetrator.
QSaltLake received photos of leather gear and computer equipment at Daniels’ sister’s house that Lentz’ partner, Wyatt Maki, says was theirs and have been returned to them. Maki said that some of their belongings are still missing and that Daniels may have been stealing packages being delivered to the apartment since they all moved in together.
“Thankfully it wasn’t a hate crime,” Maki said. “Unfortunately it was someone we lived with who’s shown he’s untrustworthy. Michael and I have moved into another place, and we are safe.”
Daniels is, of course, presumed innocent and police are still investigating. Anyone who may know more details is asked to call the Salt Lake City Police Department at 801-799-3000.