Video used as evidence against man charged with hate crimes in US church vandalism

JEFF TURNER

Officers in the US have arrested a man for hate crimes after they say the suspect was caught on video smashing a window at a church before running off.

Video from surveillance cameras at Community Church of Christ in Queens, New York was posted to the police department’s Crime Stoppers twitter account shortly after the damage was reported.

Police say the damage was done Tuesday, March 8.  Video from the church and other evidence, led police to Tonnie Smith, 32, of Queens.  He has been charged with criminal mischief and aggravated harassment. Both are listed as hate crimes in the State of New York.

Criminals smash US church’s stained-glass window, steal altar Bible, cross

Janet Johnson-Tremblay

A congregation in the US has few answers as to why someone would smash stained glass windows and steal the altar Bible and a wooden cross.  The damage was discovered Thursday at the Handsboro United Methodist Church in Mississippi.

“Sad to report that the sanctuary was vandalized.  One of our beautiful stained glass windows was broken and the Bible on the altar and wooden cross Mr. Sam Krohn built were taken.  It is unfortunate that people have the nerve to do such a thing to a church,” says a post to the church’s Facebook page.

Pastor John McCay told MagnoliaStateLive that the items stolen were of, “great sentimental value” to the church. WLOX Television reports a vandal or vandals recently damaged other churches in the area.

Police have yet not determined a motive of the person or persons who damaged the church buildings.

Man charged with arson in US church fire

STAFF

Sheriff’s office investigators in the United States have not yet determined the motive behind a church arson after one person was arrested for the criminal act Saturday.

A spokesperson for the Tuolumne County, California Sheriff’s Office said the fire was set Saturday, March 19 at the Journey Church in Sonora, California. The church building was fully engulfed in flame when firefighters arrived.

Early Sunday deputies were called back to the church by firefighters who said a man at the fire scene was acting strangely. Deputies questioned the man at the scene and arrested him for arson and burglary.

Reported crimes against the church in North America this week 1/30/2022

DAVID INGRAM

The number of reported crimes against churches and congregations remains low for a second week in a row.  No confirmed hate crimes have been reported to Texas Gospel Canada since the first of the year.

CTV reports RCMP investigators in Olds, Alberta are looking for the person caught on security footage damaging windows at the First Baptist church.  MountainViewToday reports the damage was reported January 23.

Authorities in Lawrence County, Alabama began the week looking for whomever caused thousands of dollars in damage to the New Antioch Church of Christ building, according to The Birmingham News. The paper published photos of the damage. WAAY television reports the motive does not appear to be theft as no valuable items were taken. Shortly after those stories ran police arrested two juveniles. APnews reports the teens were identified from surveillance video. WHNT television reports the damage is estimated at $30,000.

A Virginia church grotto was vandalized and statues “irreparably damaged” Tuesday night according to a report from WTOP news. A post by the pastor on the church web site says, “I am so saddened by this act of disrespect and destruction of property…. Let us be people of peace who value and respect one another.”

Reported crimes against the church in North America this week 1/23/2022

STAFF

This is a list of this week’s reported crimes against Christian congregations and church property in North America. It is not intended to be an exhaustive list.  These are only those that have come to our attention through media reports.

Reported crimes against congregations in North America were low this week. It is our hope that this is not because most are unknown, but that attacks on the Christian church were few.

A cathedral in Tallahassee, Florida held a dedication service after renovations were completed following a 2019 arson. WCTV reports Seth Johnson, 32, pleaded no contest to an arson charge that severely damaged the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Tallahassee.

The search for vandals who caused thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to a church in North Alabama continues.  WHNT TV released video of some of the damage along with information about the effort to identify the criminals. Fox54 reports the vandals will face charges of burglary and criminal mischief.