Five church buildings vandalized in same Texas community

William Desjardins

Police in Texas are looking for a man caught on video vandalizing a church building. Officers in the US say the individual may be responsible for five additional criminal acts at buildings belonging to other congregations.

Security cameras caught video of a man inside the Missionary Baptist Church of Hughes Springs, Texas, where offices were ransacked and money set aside for a congregation member’s funeral was stolen. Nearby Turkey Creek Baptist church and New Colony Baptist Church had damage to their buildings that appeared to have happened in a similar manner. Two other churches have been targeted since January.

Police have not said why the vandals targeted specifically church buildings.

Woman arrested for breaking windows, vandalizing graves at US church

David Ingram, Music Director/Reporter

Sheriff’s deputies in the US say they have arrested a woman who broke windows, destroyed church property, and vandalized graves at a church.

Moore County, North Carolina Sheriff Ronnie Fields said in a press release that the damage was done on Dec. 29, 2020 at Mount Zion A.M.E. Church in Carthage, North Carolina. When deputies arrived at the church they found damage to multiple grave markers, windows, and other miscellaneous items on the church property. Sheriff Fields said deputies quickly found a person of interest in the area who was subsequently charged in connection with the crimes. 

A sheriff’s office spokesperson has identified the person arrested as Jasmine Shereece Frye, 34, of Carthage, NC. She faces 10 counts of Felony Disturbing Grave Markers, 1 count of misdemeanor injury to real property, and one count of littering.

Jail records show Frye is held on $25,000 US bond.

Shereece is scheduled to appear before a judge on March 3, 2021.

Vandals target 231-year-old California church building with misspelled ‘genocide’ graffiti

Police in Santa Barbara California believe anti-Columbus day sentiment is motive behind vandalism at a church established in 1786.  Someone spray painted “genocide”, smashed a window, and damaged other pieces of church property of the Old Mission Santa Barbara. The Los Angeles Times reports they caused an estimated $25,000 in damage. KYET television published a photo of the damage.

File news reports from the area say the same church was vandalized last year.  Cameras were installed following that attack.  Video from those cameras of this year’s attack is being reviewed by detectives.

The 231-year-old building is home to a community of Franciscan Friars

 

New York reverend to ask leniency for church vandals

vandals arrested

Two New York men are facing charges connected to the Aug. 19 vandalism of a Greek Orthodox Church building.

According to TexasGospe.org file stories, the vandals smashed a stained glass window, tore down a church sign and kicked over potted plants at Saints Anargyroi, Taxiarchis and Gerasimos Greek Orthodox Church. The vandalism was captured on surveillance video that was aired on News12 Long Island. Southold police say two suspects turned themselves in after the footage was aired.

The suspects, Wesley S. Brown, 21, of Westchester County, and Mitchell Mayer, 22, of Burlington, Vermont, face misdemeanor charges of fourth-degree criminal mischief.

A police spokesperson said the vandalism does not appear to be a hate crime directed at the church, but the result of two who were drunk and disorderly.

The Rev. Jerasimos Ballas told Newsday.com he plans to reach out to authorities to ask for leniency for the two men.

Indiana man arrested for vandalism of multiple churches, more charges pending

Mug shot - arsonist
Renzo Signorino

Sheriff’s deputies in Indiana arrested the man they say is responsible for a string of church vandalism cases. Renzo Signorino, 20, of Columbus, Indiana, is charged with numerous crimes against congregations in Brown County, Indiana including burglary, institutional criminal mischief, and felony level theft.   Investigators say his victims include the congregations of the Way of Holiness Tabernacle, St. Agnes Catholic Church of Nashville, and the Pikes Peak Church of Christ. A police spokesperson said more charges are pending.

According to a report in The Republic newspaper, investigators were able to file charges after they received a tip from an FBI agent who was investigating vandalism at a synagogue.  The Brown County Democrat says the agent contacted investigators on August 19 after the suspect in the synagogue vandalism told authorities she and Signorino had previously targeted other houses of worship.  Further investigation uncovered evidence that implicated Signorino.

A Sheriff’s Office news release lists the following charges as of Friday:

  • Burglary – Level 5 Felony (Way of Holiness Tabernacle Church)
  • Theft – Class A Misdemeanor (Way of Holiness Tabernacle Church)
  • Institutional Criminal Mischief – Class A Misdemeanor (Way of Holiness Tabernacle Church)
  • Burglary – Level 5 Felony (St. Agnes Catholic Church)
  • Institutional Criminal Mischief – Class A Misdemeanor (St. Agnes Catholic Church)
  • Institutional Criminal Mischief – Class A Misdemeanor (Pike’s Peak Church of Christ)

The news release does not give Signorino’s motivation for vandalizing church property.