No arrests, no suspects in arson investigation at anti-abortion office

NOW: No arrests, no suspects in arson investigation at anti-abortion office

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MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Police are still investigating who's behind setting a fire at the offices of an anti-abortion group in Madison. No arrests have been made and no suspects are in custody, according to local law enforcement.

Madison Police Chief Shon Barnes is asking for the public's help to find those responsible for vandalizing and throwing two Molotov cocktails at the Wisconsin Family Action office, located near the Dane County Airport.

Chief Barnes said they are working with federal officials to comb through "multiple pieces" of evidence found at the scene. A Molotov cocktail failed to ignite and it's unclear if the second device caused the fire, officials said.

"As much as we wish we could solve this case today, the forensic process must take time and we must wait for those results," Barnes said at the news conference Monday.

Robert Payne, assistant special agent with the FBI in Milwaukee, said there are no additional threats targeting abortion advocacy groups at this time. He declined to say whether federal charges will be considered in the case.

"This is the first one we are responding to with our state and federal partners," Payne said. "People have their opinions and when we violate that and we use criminal activity or violence…the FBI and federal authorities will look at that for all federal status."

Shattered glass, boarded up windows, and burned books remained outside the Wisconsin Family Action offices Monday. Cleanup efforts are underway as paint cans and supplies were used to cover up graffiti depicting an anarchy symbol and a message that read, "If abortions aren't safe, then you aren't either."

The incident comes a week after a leaked draft opinion by the U.S Supreme Court suggested Roe v. Wade will be overturned. If that happens, nearly all abortions would be banned in Wisconsin.

Democratic Governor Tony Evers condemned the violent act Monday during a press conference. 

"It's horrible," Evers said. "They should be arrested and put on trail. This is unacceptable." 

For years, Wisconsin Family Action has lobbied to outlaw abortions in the state. Barnes said he believes the incident was a targeted attack.

Officials are encouraging anyone who might have information or video surveillance to call Crime Stoppers at 608-266-6014. Barnes said he has faith a suspect will be found.

"I do anticipate we will be able to solve it, but we want to take our time and make sure we do it correctly," said Barnes.

Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin said they have not endured any hate crime incidents since the U.S Supreme Court leaked draft opinion was released.

In 2012, a Planned Parenthood clinic in Appleton was targeted after an anti-abortion activist threw a firebomb at the building. The location eventually closed a few years later following a mass shooting at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado.


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