DENVER - A US Air Force colonel has been charged with painting obscenities on parked cars bearing pro-President Bush bumper stickers, police said.
Lt Col Alexis Fecteau, who supervises 41 full-time and part-time reservists at the National Security Space Institute in Colorado Springs, Colorado, is suspected of vandalising 12 cars at Denver International Airport over a six-month period, Denver police spokesman Sonny Jackson said.
"Lieutenant Colonel Fecteau has been charged with one count of felony mischief and six misdemeanor counts related to the vandalism," Jackson said.
Fecteau, who could not be reached for comment, is scheduled to be arraigned later this month.
Police said they received numerous complaints dating back to December 2004 from people with cars bearing Bush or Bush-Cheney campaign bumper stickers that their vehicles had been vandalised.
Police set up a bait car with a pro-Bush bumper sticker, parked it at the airport with a surveillance camera, and waited. On July 1, the camera recorded a man spray-painting over the bumper sticker with an expletive.
Investigators traced the license plate of the suspected vandal to Fecteau, 42, who turned himself into police last week and was released after posting a US$5000 ($7300) bond.
Jackson would not comment on a possible motive for the vandalism, but said one victim had to spend US$2000 on repairs after it was spray-painted, which led to the felony charge.
Maj. Tina Barber-Matthew, spokeswoman for the US Air Force Space Command, said the case was under investigation, but that it would be "premature" to discuss what discipline Fecteau would face if convicted.
"Until we can validate or invalidate the charges, he is still on full-duty status," she said.
Barber-Matthew said Fecteau has been in charge at the post since October 2004. The institute provides ongoing training to Air Force personnel to keep them current on space technology and its applications, she said.