Seattle LGBTQ+ choir gets building vandalized 4 times back-to-back

The Seattle Men and Women's Chorus is turning to the community for help rebuilding after their building was broken into and vandalized.

The repairs and additional security measures are adding up to at least $10,000. Insurance will help cover the busted door after a deductible, but not everything can be reimbursed.

The choral program, which has been around 45 years, says they're charity-based. This was not in their budget. Surveillance video shows a man repeatedly slamming the door over and over trying to break in for a fourth time.

The choral program is preparing for a concert featuring banned books and LGBTQ refugees and they want to make sure their building is safe.  

The doors have been reinforced twice and they've also added a new gate which could be permanent. For now, Executive Director Craig Coogan says he's just glad they haven't had a break in 24 hours. Coogan believes officers patrolling round the clock have been a deterrence. 

All they want is for whoever is responsible to be caught so they can feel safe in their own space again.

"Our choruses make music that makes a difference," Coogan said. 

The goal of the Seattle Men and Women’s Chorus is to spread happiness and innovation. Their mission is to help build a sense of community and highlight the experiences of LGBTQ people.

"We’re known for bringing joy and happiness into Seattle," Coogan said. 

However, their mission was slightly interrupted by the crime spurts which all started early Saturday morning when one of their members spotted a rock had been thrown through the front door.  Not all the glass shattered, so their motion detector didn’t go off. They called police, locked what little remained of the door, and Coogan headed back to his office. 

"I’m using Google ‘how to replace a commercial door in an emergency,’" Coogan said. 

Then he suddenly heard a noise and caught a whiff of what seemed to be cigarettes and smoke. A burglar had reached in, unlocked the door, and snuck in trying to steal equipment. 

They bolted when Craig scared them. He says he screamed, "get out, get out". The door was boarded up. 

However, their alarm went off around 2:15 a.m. on Monday. This time, someone took a saw and cut through the wood. They busted in again, stealing computer equipment. A second wood panel was added to the door. 

"We sing choral music we make songs and while that's valuable to us, there's not a lot of monetary value to that," Coogan said. 

But when he showed up Tuesday, he realized they'd been hit a fourth time.  The other side of the glass door was broken and again someone tried to carve through the wood.  

"Clearly, someone is targeting us and I think there's something, deranged; whether it's drug-related or hate-related," Coogan said. "We’ve had protestors, we’ve dealt with people who are unconformable with LBGTQ issues, but never this level of violence against the chorus."


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So far, police haven't been able to rule out if they’re being targeted, but it's taking a toll on the charity-based program. Coogan says the added security and repairs are coming out of their budget, which they can’t afford.

"We want to stay focused on what we do," Coogan said. 

The chorus has a Valentine's Day concert titled ‘Love Beyond Boarders’, which they say is all about telling the story of love.

"When we’re faced with violence, you can either cower and be afraid or use this an opportunity to stand up for who you are," Coogan said. 

That's what they're choosing to do.

"We’re going to use the power of music and the power of love," Coogan said.

The program has raised $5,000 in donations to help offset the costs, but they urge people to buy tickets to attend their concert to help them that way.

"Music is a message of healing, we’re about bringing love and joy," Coogan said.

To learn more about how you can help, visit the choruses' website here.