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 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 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.


Trial for accused church vandal to begin Tuesday in Texas

mug shot
Thomas Britton (Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office )

Prosecutors in Texas say a man on trial this week is the criminal who vandalized, then tried to burn down a church building in Fort Worth.

The main building of St. Stephen Presbyterian Church received heavy damage in January.  Multiple windows, walls, art, educational supplies, toys, books and more were destroyed, according to a Go Fund Me page set up to help the congregation. Surveillance video of the arsonist was released through local media.  A citizen recognized Thomas Britton, 55, a homeless man, as the man in the video.   The Fort Worth Star-Telegram newspaper reports Britton had a black, tarry substance on his face and hands.  He claimed it was because he had been wildcatting on an oil rig. He was charged and indicted for criminal mischief over $300,000.

A motive for the criminal act has not been announced by authorities.

Testimony in Britton’s trial is set to begin Tuesday.

According to jail records, Britton has been held in the Tarrant county jail without bond since his arrest.

Statue in ND prayer garden destroyed, motive for attack unknown

2018-08-04 Statue damaged

FARGO – A congregation in Fargo, North Dakota is praying for the vandal or vandals who destroyed a statue on church property.  Someone this week destroyed a statue of the Virgin Mary at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church.  The damage was discovered on Aug 1.

The statue stood in a prayer garden at the church according to a report from KVRR. It was a memorial erected by a parishioner about two years ago in memory of her husband, according to WDAY television.

Father Raymond Courtright told KFGO television his parish community views what happened to the statue as an opportunity for prayer and forgiveness.

Police have not determined a motive for the crime. Anyone with information about the criminal or criminals responsible for the vandalism is asked to call the Fargo Police Department at 701-235-4493. Those with information may also text a tip to 701-730-8888, or call our the department’s tip line at 701-241-5777.


Four teens arrested for NC church vandalism

James LaGrange Murphy

UNION, SC – Four vandals have been arrested for an attack at a South Carolina Baptist church on July 7.

According to a report from The State, the vandals who damaged the building of the Welcome Baptist Church are all in their teens; three are juveniles.

A Union County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson said the Family Life Center had “Hail Satan” carved into one of the columns, and two plastic columns were burned.  The spokesperson identified James LaGrange Murphy, 18, as the non-juvenile who participated.  The names of the other three are not released because of their age.

The damage to church property is estimated at less than $600. It has not yet been determined if the attack will be classified as a hate crime.