The Office of the Maine Attorney General said there is not enough evidence to investigate the vandalism at a Monmouth golf course earlier this month as a hate crime.

A letter from Margie Berkovich, a detective in the attorney general’s investigative division, stated that proving a violation of the Maine Civil Rights Act requires evidence of bias-motivated violence, a threat of violence or property damage.

The letter said Berkovich agreed with the Monmouth police assessment that there was insufficient evidence to charge a specific person or persons with a crime of violation of the Maine Civil Rights Act. The letter also said that despite the presence of an apparent swastika on one of the greens, there is insufficient evidence to link the property damage to the Cobbossee Colony Golf Course to a bias motivation because of all the other damage to the property.

Bill Sylvester, who owns the course on Cobbossee Road, reported to police Oct. 9 that someone had driven a golf cart around the course and onto several greens. The large symbol, which was interpreted to be a swastika by Sylvester and local law enforcement, was found near the hole on the first green, several hundred yards from the clubhouse. The Sylvester family isn’t Jewish, Bill Sylvester said, and he said he has no idea why someone would draw that on the green.

Monmouth police referred the case to the attorney general’s office because of the apparent swastika, but Monmouth officers didn’t identify a suspect officially or provide enough evidence, so there was nothing for the attorney general’s office to pursue. Monmouth police Chief Kevin Mulherin said Tuesday that his agency’s investigation is still open.

He said police have not been able to determine how many people were involved in the incident, and they haven’t identified any suspects. Mulherin declined to give an age range for the suspects and he did not provide any other information about who might have been involved.

Monmouth police Patrolman Mike Parshall said the crime, which was being investigated as felony criminal mischief, probably occurred between 9:30 p.m. Oct. 8, a Sunday, and 4 a.m. the next day. He estimates the cost of damage to the golf course to be $2,000 to $3,000, not including any loss of business.

Parshall’s investigation has turned up at least one suspect, but he said he was unable to link the evidence found at the scene to the suspect. There is no evidence that alcohol was involved.

The damage to the second green, including golf cart tracks, deep holes in the green and portions of the turf that were torn away from the ground, will require extensive repairs. The Sylvester brothers don’t expect the work to repair the course to be completed until the spring.

The nine-hole public course has been open for nearly a century, and since the family purchased the course about 20 years ago, this type of vandalism never had occurred.

The course usually stays open until Veterans Day in November, and that is still the plan, Bill Sylvester said. They’ll have to mark a provisional green for the second hole in the fairway, and there may be other changes to some of the other holes that were damaged — Nos. 1 and 3 through 7 — but the brothers haven’t decided how they’ll handle that.

In addition to driving across several greens and knocking down some posts used to mark the cart paths, Parshall said the vandals were jumping the golf cart into multiple sand traps. He was able to see where the rear of the cart dragged along the ground, but he wasn’t able to match it to any golf cart during his initial investigation.

Jason Pafundi — 621-5663

[email protected]

Twitter: @jasonpafundiKJ