Vandals Deface Tyler Churches - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

11/22/04-Tyler

Vandals Deface Tyler Churches

Tyler houses of prayer defaced by vandals.
Sunday night, vandals ransacked a building of the Southern Oaks Baptist Church between 5 and 7 o'clock. Police believe the same vandals hit a neighboring church three times in the past week.

The shattered remains of a cross were added to the glass shards and empty cans in the garbage. Sunday night, many members of the Southern Oaks Baptist Church were at the annual Thanksgiving dinner, not knowing across campus vandals were ravaging the Sunday School Building.
Monday morning church members were busy picking up the pieces.
The vandals threw soda cans and a CD player through the windows. Profanity was scribbled on the wall, and a pentegram, a symbol some say represents evil, was drawn on a table.
"It is really disheartening to know that there are people out there who would do any type of damage to any public facility, but much less a church," said Southern Oaks Associate Pastor Tony Garrett.
The culprits smashed eggs against the walls. The refrigerator door was left open and the heater turned up, so the egg yolks and spoiling food would begin to stink.
"We're real thankful that we're able to clean that up and use this building next week for Sunday school again," said Pastor Garrett.
Church officials said the damage to the building costs between $1,000 and $2,000.
Less than a block away at the Pollard United Methodist Church it was discovered Monday morning that the vandals had hit the church for the third time in less than a week, marking the church with satanic symbols and profanity in an area where parents drop their children off for daycare.
"It's a very upsetting thing you know when people don't have respect for a church," said Pollard UMC Associate Pastor Stephanie Scott.
Church officials are worried the vandals will do more than just mark up the walls of their building. Police do not have any suspects yet, but when they do catch those responsible they could face more charges than just vandalism. Because of where and what was written, police said this could be upgraded to a hate crime.
They also believe those responsible burglarized several cars in the parking lot of the Southern Oaks Baptist Church.
If you have any information in either of these incidents, contact the tyler police department.

Maya Golden reporting, mgolden@kltv.com 

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