VANDALIA, Ohio (WDTN)– A church in Vandalia was recently vandalized making it the second incident in a month. Spray painted on Hopeland Church’s stage was a message from a suspect stating “you are done.”
Pastor Chris Allen said the message was unsettling. “That is a message that is pretty serious and it’s now been backed up by actions,” said Allen.
Pastor Allen estimates nearly $10,000 of damage in two different targeted attacks have left Hopeland Church in a serious dilemma.
“Given that we’re a small church that’s around 10 percent of our entire annual income,” said Allen. “Right now we are relying on generous donations we’ve received.”
Vandalia Police believe the destruction took place between December 31 and January 2 and are currently reviewing surveillance footage. However, this is not the first incident of vandalism at Hopeland Church. On December 2, Vandalia Police and Fire responded to their entire nativity set and church van engulfed in flames.
“Whether it’s connected or not we’re seeing threats have been made and action to back it up,” said Allen. “We’re very serious about what we can do with law enforcement and to ensure anyone coming into our place is safe.”
Allen says the targeted message is a cause for concern but is hopeful this will be the last attack.
“Stuff happens so we’re trying to remain positive, stick to being solution oriented and figure out what’s happening behind this so we can bring this to a close as quick as we can,” said Allen.
At this time there are no suspects identified in this second incident. Vandalia Police is asking anyone who has information regarding this investigation to contact Det. Clemmons with the Vandalia Division of Police at (937) 898-5868.