Crimes against the church this week

These are some of the crimes against the church reported this week in North America. This is not intended to be an exhaustive report. It is only a sample of crimes reported by news agencies in Canada and the US over the past seven days.

Two off-duty officers in Manitoba were able to subdue a man who used profanities and flashed a gun to threaten worshipers at the Westside Community Church of Morden this past weekend. Witnesses said the man lifted his sweater, displayed a gun.  The off-duty were attending the service. They took the man into custody without any injuries.  Officers determined the man’s weapon was a fake. Dustin Warkentin, 32, is accused of weapon, assault and disturbance charges.

Investigators with the Powell County, Kentucky sheriff’s office are investigating thousands of dollars in damage caused by criminals who ransacked a church building. A sheriff’s office spokesperson said someone overturned pews, smashed holes in the walls and caused extensive damage to the sanctuary of the South Fork Church of God.  The vandal or vandals’ motive is not known.

The Knights of Columbus spent last weekend removing satanic graffiti from outside the church of St. Joseph in Washington, D.C. A vandal, or vandals, left an image of a pentagram, the word Lucifer, and some indistinguishable writing. Patrick Abbot, an officer in the Knights of Columbus, said the vandalism was like Satan’s empty promises in that they were easily washed away.

A man accused of setting a Florida church on fire last year is facing a federal hate crime’s charge.  A federal grand jury indictment was handed up Wednesday against Steven Shields, 24, of Dunnellon, Florida. A press release from the U.S. Justice Department says the indictment alleges that he was motivated to set the fire due to the religious character of the church.

Boston police are looking for a man who’s wanted in connection with two incidents of vandalism at Catholic churches in Dorchester and South Boston. Around 6:30 a.m. Monday an unknown substance was found on several doors at St. Teresa of Calcutta Church and St. John Paul II Catholic Academy in Dorchester. Two hours later officers were called to St. Augustine Church in South Boston where a similar substance was found on doors and a statue was toppled.

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