Gay bar vandalized in Fresno

FRESNO, Calif.

Construction crews covered anti-gay slurs that had been written on the doors of "The Phoenix" bar Friday afternoon. Owner Karl Jensen now feels he's a victim of a hate crime. "It's become a little bit personal."

Jensen and his partner Bryan Beckstrand walked into their bar Tuesday -- only to find their walls and mirrors covered with anti-gay words.

A photo in particular shows two words that are most commonly used to offend members of the gay community spray painted on a wooden board.

Jensen says the vandals carried out their attack in broad daylight while he went out to lunch.

"I've seen the other graffiti and kind of thought okay maybe that's just kids stuff. But then when I felt like it was really targeting us, I think it really shook me up a little." said Jensen.

Jensen and Beckstrand became the new owners of the bar after the roof had burned down last year. At the time the bar had been called "The Den." Fire investigators would not say arson was to blame -- but Jensen believes otherwise.

Fresno Police officers arrived at the bar Friday night after Action News talked to police Chief Dyer about the incident. Police weren't aware of anything because Jensen and Beckstrand never reported it. But Dyer says they take any potential hate crime very seriously.

"We do not want these things to re-occur. And we certainly don't want these things to escalate to the point where someone is injured." said Chief Dyer.

Jensen says he hesitated on calling police because he quite frankly didn't know if they'd care. And despite the fact bar has had a troubled past -- he has no plans of moving out. "I didn't think the place would be the same some place else."

The rebuilding process for the Phoenix bar started this week and owners aren't deterred by what happened. They plan on opening this place in June.

Meanwhile police tell me they are working on at least one lead in this case.

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