CHEROKEE COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - An East Texas church has been vandalized not once, not twice, but three separate times in the past month. The break-ins are happening at the Dialville United Methodist church off of County Road 1611 in Rusk.
B.B. gun bullet holes in the windows, shattered glass on the floors and vulgar images are spray painted on a door.
“I’m assuming the people who did it, they just didn’t have a better raising than that, that they maybe didn’t even know better,” Reverend John Hawkins says.
After the third break-in, Reverend Hawkins is struggling to practice what he preaches every Sunday morning.
“It does become difficult to turn the other cheek sometime and to express the love that Jesus wanted us to do,” Rev. Hawkins says.
It’s a small church, but it’s filled with a congregation who cares. And when things as trivial as a twelve pack of Coke are continually stolen, it becomes frustrating.
“This time they stole a pack of toilet paper, of all things,” Rev. Hawkins says.
Reverend Hawkins also happens to be the president of Cherokee County Crime-stoppers; he believes this vandalism is connected with a stolen motorcycle and a 4-wheeler that were recently recovered from the same area.
“It’s just kids that need a better direction than what they have,” Rev. Hawkins says. Reverend Hawkins says the church is having to pay for the damages on their own, and he hopes this is the last time he’ll have to pick up the pieces.
The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office says the vandalism is still an open investigation, but they have identified a person of interest.