Hate crime charges pending against man who smeared feces on California church building

A California man police say has a history of yelling obscenities at church members has been arrested after U.S. police say he smeared feces and threw eggs at a church building.

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Danny Lee Terpin (Tulare County Sheriff’s Office , U.S.)

Tulare County sheriff’s deputies arrested Danny Lee Terpin, 48, after they say his actions were caught on video at the Iglesia Christiana Fuente de Vida on Friday. The Sheriff’s Office posted on its Facebook page that the video surveillance and a history of incidents led deputies to a nearby home where they made the arrest.

A sheriff’s office spokesperson on Sunday said Terpin faces felony hate crime vandalism charges.

US agents investigating attacks against church buildings in Texas, reward offered

The FBI is trying to find out if four cases of church vandalism in El Paso, Texas are related. The latest incident happened Dec. 5. A criminal smashed windows at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church.  Fire officials told the El Paso Times a small fire at the church that night appears to be intentionally set.

The church pastor posted on social media that no one was hurt.  He said federal agents are investigating the attack against the church as a hate crime.

Fernando Ceniseros, a spokesman for the Diocese of El Paso, encouraged anyone with information on the crime to reach out to the police, FBI, or Crime Stoppers.

“If you see something, if you know something or if you hear something we are asking our people to say something,” he said, according to the KVIA television.

The vandalism at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church includes the burning of a Bible, Satanic symbols left on church property and around $75,000 of non-specified destruction, according to a followup story from KVIA.

The FBI in September announced a $5,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest in previous attacks against church buildings in El Paso. Other rewards offered to help find the person or persons responsible bring the reward total to $15,000 for the arrest of those who are responsible.

Vandals paint messages of hate on Ohio church building

A congregation in Deerfield, Ohio was targed this week by vandals who painted swastikas, racial slurs, and Satanic symbols on the church building.

Pastor Rodney Hedge of Kings Mills Baptist Church told Fox 19 in Ohio he got an early morning phone call about what was called an “all hands on deck” situation. He told the TV station it was the first time his congregation had to deal with this type of vandalism.

A church representative made a Facebook post showing damage left by the criminals.

The motive of the vandals has not yet been determined.

The Sunday Report, Nov 10, 2019

Criminal acts against the church in North America continue at a steady pace.  Reported incidents are mostly petty crimes and acts of vandalism.

Halifax-area RCMP are asking for the public’s help in identifying the people responsible for vandalism at a church in Sackville. Valliant News reports derogatory comments were painted on the building and property was damaged by the vandal or vandals. Anyone with information about the incident is asked to the Halifax District RCMP at . If you wish to remain anonymous call Nova Scotia Crime Stoppers toll free at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477.)

RCMP are investigating a suspicious fire at a church nursery in Carman, Man.  CBC reports the fire was confined to one room. RCMP ask anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. 

Two men are charged with multiple charges including defacing religious property and defacing an institution because of religious animosity after bias-related graffiti was found at a Maryland Methodist Church, according to a report from Patch.com.

Two women in Lima, Ohio have agreed to reimburse the congregation of New Life Assembly and enter a diversity program after they pleaded guilty to vandalizing a church.  Hometownstations.com reports prosecutors dropped a higher charge of desecration as part of a negotiated plea deal.

A Former New York University professor is charged with a hate crime after police say security cameras caught him vandalizing a Brooklyn Church.  NBCNewYork.com reports Michael Gould Wartofsky previously taught sociology at NYU.

Investigators in Greene County, Tennessee are asking anyone with information about a fire that was intentionally set at the Gethsemane Methodist Church to call the local sheriff’s office.  The fire was set sometime between Nov 4 and Nov 5 according to a report from WJHL television.

A Toronto church has helped at least 33 families from 13 countries find a new home. The CBC reports the families are helped by the Etobicoke-based Islington United Church under Canada’s Private Sponsorship Program.

Please pray for the affected congregations and for those who committed these crimes.

Sunday Report: Nov. 3, 2019

Some members of Our Lady of Guadalupe Circle in Ottawa say there have been injustices against Canada’s Indigenous people and are working to protect their language and cultural.  The B.C. Catholic reports the group published a letter and video acknowledging past unfair actions. 

Investigators in New York say a fire that heavily damaged Luz En Tu Senda church in Riverhead is not being investigated as a hate crime because there is no indication the church was targeted for a racial motive. Riverheadlocal.com reports a Freedom of Information request seeking release of a statement of the suspect, Lee Ragland, that would reveal the motive, but officials have refused to release the statement.

A man who vandalized St. Patrick-St. Anthony Catholic church Grand Rapids, Michigan and threatened two church members was sentenced this week to a year in jail. Anthony Lee Wabindato was found guilty of two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon, one count of resisting arrest and one count of malicious destruction of property.  According to WOOD TV, the judge also ordered him to pay $3,690 in fines.

Fire officials in North Hornell, Kansas say they believe an Oct. 27 fire at the Station Church was intentionally set. The Evening Tribune reports the Steuben County Sheriff’s office has begun a criminal investigation. Damage to the church is estimated at over $15,000.

Police made an arrest in two recent vandalisms at St. Patrick’s Parish in Watsonville, California after the release of surveillance video sparked tips that led officers to Arturo Padilla. Patch.com reports the damage is estimated at over $1,500. KSBW reports Arturo Padilla is charged with vandalism of a church.

 

Sunday Report 10/27/2019

Criminal acts against churches reported in North America this week have continued at about the average rate.

The Riverhead News-Review reports Lee Ragland, 33, was caught on surveillance video setting fire to a church in the state of New York.  The Fire Marshal told Riverhead Local it could have been much worse if it were not for quick action by firefighters. Ragland been charged with felony third-degree arson. His actions caused major damage to the building of Luz en tu Senda church.  No motive have been announced.

The St. Alban’s Episcopal church, also in the State of New York, was vandalized by criminals who spray painted a pentagram and the number 666 on the front door. Syracuse.com reports the vandal’s work was cleaned up within a few hours.

A fifth church vandalism within four months in Crowley, Louisiana is being investigated as a hate crime. The latest incident happened at the Jerusalem Baptist church in Crowley.  Local news reports say the motivation of the attacks may be racial, but officials have not yet made that determination.

Keep these folks in your prayers as they deal with the aftermath of those who have no respect for a house of worship.

Arrests made, few motives known for attacks on North American churches

Acts of vandalism continue at churches across North America. The majority of the cases reported this week remain unsolved.  It is unclear if a fire at St. Matthew’s Presbyterian Church in Grand Falls-Windsor is accidental or arson.  The chairman of the church says the cleanup is ongoing following the Oct. 18 fire. CBNCompass.ca reports the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Law enforcement agencies in the US this week have made arrests in church vandalism cases, but have fallen short in determining a motive for the crimes.  Four churches in Crowley, Louisiana were vandalized who smashed windows and fled. Police say the churches attacked are predominately African American and the vandal or vandals could be charged with a hate crime according to KADN television.  Two churches in Buffalo, Illinois were targeted this week by vandals who caused more than $10,000 in damage. Ourquadcities.com reports no arrests have been made. A homeless man was arrested for arson at Our Lady Immaculate Church in Springfield, Massachusetts. Recorder.com reports Trevor DeFrancesco, 21, is held on $20,000 bond. Officials have not determined a motive in the acts of destruction.