Reported crimes against the church in North America this week 1/15/2022

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.

A Cap-PelĂ© man will be released while authorities prepare an arson charge for a church fire in New Brunswick church. A CBC report says Samuel Jamie Vautour is suspected of causing a fire  last month at the Saint TimothĂ©e Catholic church in Shemogue. Global News reports the building was at least 100 years old.

The congregation of Bell Memorial Baptist Church in Columbia, South Carolina is repairing vandalism left by criminals who damaged the building during the time the church was meeting virtually. News19 posted photos of shattered glass, bb pellets in walls and tipped over furniture.  WOLO television reports the church has been vandalized twice in the past two weeks.

A Colorado woman is charged this week with a hate crime for vandalism police say she left at a Catholic cathedral in October. The Denver Channel reports Madeline Ann Cramer, 26, spray painted references to Satan and what is described as a “homophobic slur” on church property. The District Attorney told the Denver Gazzette the graffiti include messages, “consistent with anti-Christian bias.” The Denver Post reports the criminal act caused around $10,000 in damage.

Police in Oregon are investigating what investigators describe as a possible “bias crime” after someone set a Nativity scene on fire at the infant Jesus at St. Anthony Catholic Church. The Times reports the motive for the criminal act has not yet been determined.

A report from WHIO TV 7 says a 20-year-old Ohio man is charged with felony arson, vandalism and desecration of a place of worship after police say he intentionally set multiple fire to the nativity scene in front of Hopeland Church and a van that was parked on church property. The Dayton Daily News reports Garrett Scott Cook has a January 20 court hearing for the crime. Police have not released the motive behind the criminal act.

Police in Washington, DC say they have identified a person of interest after a man was caught on video using a hammer to cause “irreparable damage” to a marble statue at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, according to a report from the National Catholic Register. The paper says the statue is valued at $250,000.

Reported crimes against the church in North America this week 1/8/2022

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.

MONDAY JAN 3, 2022

A church in Sherburne, New York celebrated a grand re-opening this weekend after an arsonist destroyed the congregation’s sanctuary in 2020.  WKTV reports The Lighthouse Community Church has since changed its name to Epicenter Ministries.

Police in Vandalina, Ohio are investigating a threatening message and nearly $10,000 in damage done to property owned by Hopeland Church.  WDNT reports it was the second incident of vandalism at the church

TUESDAY, JAN 4, 2022

A Smithville, Tennessee man is set to make a court appearance on Jan 13 after police say he spray painted the side a church and left a note on the door saying, “Be a real shame to lose your church because of terrorists.” WJLE radio reported the graffiti included a message ordering the church to stop loaning its building out. 

WEDNESDAY, JAN 5, 2022

Bond for an Ohio man was set Wednesday at $50,000 after police say he set fire to a nativity scene and a van at the Hopeland Church in Vandaila, Ohio.  The Journal-News of Butler County, Ohio reports Garrett Scott Cook, 20, is charged with vandalism and desecration of a place of worship.

THURSDAY, JAN 5, 2022

Police in Summerville, South Carolina are looking for the person or persons who smashed windows and set fires inside the Flowertown Baptist Church building.  Live5News reports some items were also stolen from the church.

FRIDAY, JAN 6, 2022

Arson investigators have not yet determined the cause of a fire at the River of Life Church in Munford, Tennessee. The AtokA Fire Department posted photos of the blaze on social media.

A Texas man is sentenced to 20 years in prison for burning down a church building.  CBS 19 reports Paul Wayne Kennedy pleaded guilty to arson with intent to damage a habitat or place of worship in connection with a fire at the Shell’s Temple Church of God in Christ.

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

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.

MONDAY, DEC. 27, 2021

Police in St. Albans, West Virginia have arrested two men for felony destruction of property and grand larceny after

TUESDAY, DEC 28, 2021

Police in Fort Smith, Ark. have arrested a man accused of causing between $20,000 and $50,000 in damage to the Evangel Temple in Forts Smith. KNWA/KFTA reports surveillance video led to the arrest of James Leon Garner, 39. A motive for the vandalism has not been announced.

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 29, 2021

Officers arrested a Henderson, North Carolina man, 40, this week for vandalism at a church. Police say Kane Kelley. The motive behind the vandalism at the Ebenezer Church is not clear as the graffiti is Illegible. Fox Carolina posted photos of some of the graffiti. ABC13 reports the act was caught on surveillance video.

Police in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania are looking for the person or persons who caused an estimated $11,000 in damage as they ransacked a church. 6 Action News reports the damage was discovered at the Emmanuel United Methodist Church. Burglary is believed to be the motive

THURSDAY, DEC 30, 2021

Police In the state of New Jersey have responded three times in the past month to vandalism at the Mary, Mother of God Church in the city of Hillsborough.  Patch.com reports the vandal or vandals have defaced Christmas decorations, knocked over statues and stole a few items.

FRIDAY, Dec 31, 2021 (New Year’s Eve)

No Report – Holiday schedule

Reported crimes against the church in North America this week 12/24/2021

TEXAS GOSPEL CANADA 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.

MONDAY, DEC. 20, 2021

Vandals in Land Park, California have destroyed what has been a long-time annual Christmas display.  KRCA Television reports the Nativity set up by a family for the past 25 years was demolished by criminals over the weekend.

The sheriff’s office in York County, South Carolina is investigating racist and obscene graffiti at the NewSpring Church, according to a report from The Herald.

TUESDAY, DEC. 21, 2021

Provincial police are investigating after someone used an ATV to smash through doors of a church in Caledonia. CBC news reports it appears they drove the ATV inside the building causing further damage.

WEDNESDAY, DEC 22, 2021

Police in Oldsmar, Florida have not announced a motive for a man arrested after they say he broke into a church and caused more than $50,000 in damage.  Fox13 reports the unnamed suspect broke into the Mount Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church and began marring the walls and furniture with graffiti, burning items and ransacking the building.

THURSDAY, DEC 23, 2021

Calgary police are looking for a person of interest in a summer church arson. CTV News has published photos of a man that may have information about an intentionally-set fire at the Calgary House of Prayer Church on July 4.

A creche depicting Jesus’ birth has been vandalized for the second time in Hillsborough, New Jersey.  Tapinto.net reports the vandalized figures at The Catholic Church of Hillsborough were a gift to the church and had been cast by an Italian sculptor. Police have not made any arrests in the criminal act.

FRIDAY, DEC 24, 2021

A Charleston, S.C. congregation is looking past the vandalism of the person or persons who targeted their sanctuary earlier this month, as they focus on serving God while they serve the community.  ABC4 reports Mt. Carmel United Methodist Church is continuing its work distributing clothing and food as they discourage drug use in the neighborhood.

Sheriff’s deputies in Shasta County, California arrested a woman for vandalism at the Community Baptist Church. The Riverside County News reports that deputies found the woman broke into the church, sprayed the fire extinguisher around the sanctuary but got no further in damaging the house of worship because law officers caught her in the act.

Police in Austin, Texas are investigating after someone smashed stained glass windows on all sides of Our Savior Lutheran Church. KXAN television reports the church boarded up the windows and proceeded with worship as scheduled.

Reported crimes against the church this week 12/18/2021

Janet Johnson-Tremblay

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.

MONDAY, DEC. 13, 2021

A church in Fargo, ND has restored a statue of St. Anthony of Paduca after vandals cut the head off and caused other damage. WZFG reports the damage happened in October . No motive for the criminal act is known.

A man charged with stalking and killing a pastor in an East Texas church has been found incompetent to stand trial. Police say Mytrez Woolen hid inside the Starrville Methodist Church last year and shot the pastor when he was found. KTEK.com reports his case is on hold while he receives “restorative” care. 

TUESDAY, DEC. 14, 2021

Police in Charleston, South Carolina say a vandal or vandals smashed out stained glass windows of the Mt. Carmel United Methodist Church.  News 2 reports large bricks and rocks were used to carry out the criminal act. The church posted a video on Facebook showing some of the damage.

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 15, 2021

A Pensacola, Florida man investigators believe is responsible for a string of church vandalism was involved in a shootout with sheriff’s deputies on Dec. 7. The Pensacola News Journal reports Sean Thomas Michaels was confronted by deputies after a tip came in that he had caused tens of thousands of dollars in damage to a total of six churches when he raised a rifle and pointed it at the deputies. He was shot in the leg and deputies took him into custody.

THURSDAY, DEC 15, 2021

Police in Charleston, West Virginia are working to identify the person who threw bricks through two stained-glass windows at Mount Carmel United Methodist Church.  The Post and Courier reports the vandal was caught on video and the crime is being investigated as a hate crime.

FRIDAY, DEC 16, 2021

On Dec 15 a man and woman broke into St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Beaumont, Texas.  Police say burglary appears to be the motive for the crime.  Cash and credit cards were taken and used at local stores.

Police in Seattle are investigating arson and vandalism at the St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church.  West Seattle News reports the fire did not have time to spread before it spread.  No arrests have been made.