Vandals target four Decatur churches

| July 7, 2010

DECATUR — Police are looking for the public’s help in tracking down vandals armed with spray cans who targeted at least four churches in a narrow area on Decatur’s north side Monday night.

Painted messages were sprayed on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 3955 Lourdes Drive and the Riverside Baptist Church at 1250 W. Mound Road. They also struck at First Congregational United Church of Christ, 3465 N. MacArthur Road, and the nearby First Christian Church at 3350 N. MacArthur.

There were reports other churches and some businesses may have been vandalized, but these were not confirmed Tuesday.

Deputy Decatur Police Chief James Chervinko said: “This type of incident is not common, but it certainly appears these four cases are connected. Anybody with any knowledge of these incidents or information about them should contact the police department or call CrimeStoppers at 423-8477.”

Chervinko said timely information from the public would help police catch the vandals faster.

“If you see suspicious behavior around a church, give us a call, and we’ll certainly respond,” he added.

For the churches left with the often bizarre spray-painted messages to clean up, Tuesday started on a sour note. The Rev. Wayne Kent, lead pastor at First Christian Church, arrived at his office to find messages ranging from “Hail Lord Kromdor” to “Jesus was Black” and “Read Dianetics” painted on the building’s walls and windows.

Lord Kromdor is a fictional demonlike figure with his own Facebook page, and Dianetics is the series of ideas and practices developed by science fiction author L. Ron Hubbard, who believed the psychiatric profession secretly controlled most of the world’s governments.

“Obviously, this kind of thing takes the wind out of your sails,” Kent said. “But we’ll clean it up and carry on. You can’t let one person or group of individuals stop you from doing your mission.”

One discovery his church has made since the vandalism is a highly recommended product for removing spray paint: “Elephant Snot,” which is its actual name. “This stuff really gets it off, so we’re told,” Kent added.

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Category: Church Security