Man Arrested in Temple Damage

March 14, 2007

Author: Ryan Sabalow

Source: Redding

ANDERSON -- A Redding man was arrested on suspicion of committing a hate crime early Tuesday after he allegedly rammed a Sikh temple with a stolen 25-ton front-end loader in a drug-fueled rampage.

Shasta County sheriff's Sgt. Janet Breshears said Michael Benjamin Rafferty, 39, had called authorities to report the tractor being stolen.

When deputies contacted him, he gave conflicting statements and implicated himself in both the theft and the temple vandalism, Breshears said.

He was obviously on drugs, she said.

Rafferty has a criminal history that stretches back to the late 1980s, and he has been in prison "off and on" for much of his life, Breshears said.

Shasta County Superior Court records show Rafferty had a jury trial scheduled for June 19. His alleged crime: vehicle theft.