Five children charged in Norfolk church vandalism

| June 16, 2010

The damage was massive, but the suspects aren't: Police charged five children, ages 9 and 10, in a vandalism rampage at a church Sunday.

Three boys and two girls were charged in juvenile petitions with vandalism and burglary and released to their parents, said Officer Chris Amos, a Police Department spokesman.

Amos said he could not remember a case in Norfolk of a 9-year-old being charged, "let alone four, and a 10-year-old."

The Rev. Joe Spear, pastor of Christ First Community Fellowship, said he would like to speak with the children.

"Meanness and hatred is not going to help these kids," he said. "I'm sorry for them as well as sorry for the parents that it had to come to this."

An insurance inspector Tuesday examined the church at 133 Woodview Ave., where vandals broke glass and smeared red paint throughout the building.

A damage estimate was not available, but cleanup is expected to cost as much as $8,000.

Church offices were littered with paperwork and art supplies. The kitchen floor was covered with potato chips, ketchup and crackers. Glass separating the cry room from the sanctuary was shattered and audio equipment overturned.

The vandals sprayed fire extinguishers throughout the building, coating it with thick yellow dust. Church members discovered the damage about 6 p.m. Sunday before their evening service.

Spear said he believes some of the children may have attended a community festival sponsored by the church Saturday.

Members of the church will gather for their usual Wednesday evening prayer service but will do so outside, Spear said.

After that, they will clean, mainly to salvage things they can still use.

A disaster cleanup company will clean the building.

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Category: Church Security

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