OGDEN, Utah (ABC4) – The assistant pastor of an Ogden church says a recent wave of vandalism attacks directed at the church caused more than $ 2,000 in damage. This church leader tells ABC4 what he is doing now in hopes of stopping future vandalism.
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Austin Schmidt is the associate pastor of Potter’s House Christian Center. He claims that a group of teenagers are responsible for throwing stones through church windows early Sunday morning. He says it’s not the first time.
âI think the first incident happened on April 25,â Schmidt says. âWe were in marriage this Sunday morning and we entered all our broken windows, lawn chairs from the park through the windows.
Schmidt says the church contacted the police but didn’t have a lot of information to give them. Church leaders then decided it was time to install security cameras around the building. The church spent almost $ 1,000 to add the new security feature.
Schmidt says church leaders hoped the new cameras would deter those who smashed church windows from returning. However, he says that two weeks ago âa group of kids came and threw rocks from the park through the windows, and knew they were in front of the camera. I did it anyway.
In a few different security videos, suspects can be heard talking about cameras before throwing stones at windows.
In a third incident, which took place early Sunday morning, a suspect standing by the road is heard saying, âOh, we love Jesus. I love you Jesus, I promise you it with my heart.
Schmidt says a church member is doing the repairs at no labor cost, but cited the damage from the last two incidents at $ 2,000.
He says the Ogden Police Department is working with the church to find the vandals, and the officers involved have been great to work with in recent weeks.
Until Sunday, the church had only shared security footage with a few people, including law enforcement. However, after the third incident, church leaders decided to share the latest video on social media. Since Sunday, this video has been shared hundreds of times on Facebook. Schmidt says that many members of the community have contacted information about the potential suspects. He says the police have found a few so far and believes that with the help of the community, all will be found.
Schmidt says that because this has happened three times now, the church is seeking a complaint. He adds, âIt seems like a targeted, planned thing that happens for some reason. This does not happen in the community. Just here.”
One of the church neighbors also spoke to ABC4 Utah. He says his family has not suffered any vandalism in their home, but has had issues with teenagers throwing lasers through their windows. It is not certain that this is the same group targeting his home and the church.
If you recognize anyone in the scurity images, the church asks you to contact the Ogden Police Department.