Local News

Authorities search for church vandals

Posted February 6, 2009 1:18 p.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:12 p.m. EDT

— Cumberland County authorities were searching Friday for the person or people who vandalized a church south of Fayetteville.

Someone broke into New Calvary Missionary Baptist Church at about 1 a.m. Thursday and overturned the altar, smashed a piano keyboard, shattered a glass window, broke a computer monitor and tried to turn over a pew.

They set off an alarm, authorities said.

"They just came in and tore up the place," Rev. Larry Anderson said, noting that nothing was taken from the church. "It really takes a strange person to do something like that."

Cumberland County authorities said they had some leads in the case, but didn't have any suspects as of Friday afternoon.

Blood stained the front door of the church, where the vandals broke out some glass to get inside.

Anderson said he was incensed when he first saw Bibles strewn about and the altar flipped over.

"These are the objects of worship, so whoever did this has a problem with religion in general," he said, adding that he already has forgiven the vandals.

"We forgive you. We forgive you in the name of Jesus, and we would like for you to come and get some help for those anger issues," he said.

Anderson said he doubts the vandalism was racially motivated because his church, at 3862 Gateway Drive, off U.S. Highway 301, has an interracial congregation.

"I think it was probably someone who has a problem with religion in general and saw an opportunity to come in and desecrate a house of worship," he said. "In America, we just don't stand for that."

The church made plans to clean up the damage Friday night and begin making repairs, he said. A prayer vigil will be held there at 6 p.m. Sunday.

"I guess the enemy is just mad at us and angry at us, but we're going to continue to focus on our mission here as a church," he said.