(Photos: Columbus Division of Police)
Police in Columbus Ohio released body camera video from an officer arresting a man they say caused around $100,000 damage to a church Sanctuary.
A police spokesperson said Mason Christian Mayerchak, 30, of Blacklick, Ohio, was caught in the sanctuary of the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Columbus just before 6 p.m. Saturday. The spokesperson said Mayerchak appeared to be intoxicated and refused to leave when church officials asked him to go.
The first responding officer found broken glass all over the cathedral and caught Mayerchak pulling a stain glass window apart. The vandalism was also caught on surveillance video.
Mayerchak is accused of damaging a church pew, gospel stand, gospel book, vestment, alter candle sticks, tabernacle, incensor & stand, processional fans, gospel cross & a $40,000 stain glass window.
Officers say after he was placed in the cruiser he began kicking the door so his legs had to be retrained in addition to being handcuffed.
Mason Mayerchak faces a charge of vandalism.
A motive for the vandalism is not yet known.
A Church spokesperson issued the following statement:
On May 26 at approximately 5:30 PM, an individual was able to gain access into the Cathedral where he proceeded to damage a number of items in the altar area and upon the altar table – including the tabernacle, a stained glass window, the fans carried by the altar boys and more. Additionally, most (if not all) of the vigil candles were broken. Due to the cleanup efforts of our clergy and others, Divine Liturgy took place on May 27 (Pentecost) as planned.
The security cameras in the Cathedral, the alarm system and our on-site monitor captured the crime in progress and the Columbus Police Department was called. Thanks to CPD’s quick response, the individual was arrested while still in the act of vandalizing the Cathedral. We ask that you please pray for this individual, that he may see his erroneous ways and seek forgiveness.
At this time, the full extent of the damages are still being assessed and understood in part because the vandalism took place over a holiday weekend. We will continue to update the parish family as more information becomes available. This unfortunate incident is a reminder to us all that our Cathedral property is situated in a high-traffic area of Columbus. It is critical that we all remain vigilant, make sure doors are closed and locked and follow the axiom “if you see something, say something.”
Fr. Demetrios Gardikes
Dean of the Cathedral