Mesa church vandalized; suspect arrested

| May 20, 2010

Mesa Police found an unconscious man inside a Mesa church that showed signs of forced entry and vandalism, according to officials.

Jeffrey Smith, 51, told police that before he entered the Agua Viva Church, he was in a nearby bar around 8 p.m., but remembered nothing else until he was awakened by police, according to a Mesa Police Department report.

Police had been dispatched to the Super Pawn at 500 W. Southern Ave. to investigate an attempted break-in when they noticed a door to the church appeared to have been forced open.

A trail of blood led from the front door to a wall near the altar, and damaged equipment was scattered along the way. More blood was found on a door that was broken in half and that led to a room behind the altar and into a hallway, where police found Smith lying on the ground.

Smith had visible cuts on both arms and legs, according to police.

A room in the back of the church was vandalized. Police said the door might have been kicked or torn off the hinges. Items were thrown everywhere. More blood was found inside that room on the walls, which also had multiple large holes. Smith's shoes were found inside this room, according to police.

Smith told police that he had been on a three-day binge on methamphetamine.

He was transported and booked into the Mesa Jail and charged with aggravated criminal damage and criminal trespassing.

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Category: Church Security

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