Two churches, pastor's house vandalized over Easter weekend
Vandals spray painted two Airdrie churches and a pastor’s home over the Easter weekend.
Sometime over the Easter holiday between April 6 and 8, Airdrie RCMP responded to four complaints of vandalism at Airdrie Alliance Church, St. Paul’s Catholic Church and the house of the pastor of Cornerstone Foursquare Church.
St. Paul’s Deacon Doug Lynch said he got a phone call from a parishioner at about noon on April 7.
“It is disturbing when these things happen,” he said.
“It wasn’t anything vulgar thank goodness. We feel sorry for the people who did it. Not too many parishioners noticed but the ones that did were disturbed and upset.
“As they say, ‘Hate the sin, love the sinner.’”
He said there were two doors and two walls that were spray painted with the words “Waste your life” and “Guilt fetish.” The images of a cross and a star with a circle around it were also spray painted on the building.
RCMP say all of the spray painting occurred sometime over the evening hours of Friday and Saturday with two churches being spray painted both nights.
“We are looking for the public’s help with anyone who saw something or knows who did this,” said Const. Meagan Fillion.
Police suspect the crimes are connected as the same slogans or slight variations of the same slogans were spray painted on each church.
Patrick Edwards-Jones of Eccelsiastical Insurance Company, the company that covers St. Paul’s Catholic Church, said he is concerned these vandalism incidents could turn into arson.
“When we see graffiti, there is a 70 per cent chance arson is the next step,” he said.
He suggests church members ensure the building has sufficient exterior and interior lighting, few trees and shrubs for people to hide in, alarm systems, no obstructions such as wood or ladders laying around that people could use to gain access into the building, no flammable materials around the building, ensure all buildings and windows are locked and talk to the congregation and neighbours to ask them to keep an eye on the building and report suspicious activity.
“We want to help prevent these incidents from going any further,” said Edwards-Jones.
Lynch said he hopes the people responsible for the crimes come clean.
“I would certainly ask them to come forward and own up to it,” he said.
“An apology would be in order. If they have any questions, we would be more than happy to discuss.”
He said parishioners have cleaned off most of the graffiti but residents should know this is happening in the community.
Fillion said, if caught, the suspects could be charged with multiple counts of mischief either under or over $5,000.
Due to the spelling, the writing style, and other factors, police believe the suspects responsible were attempting to cause damage but are not classifying the crime as a hate crime.
“It is believed that this was youth because of the spelling mistakes and the nature of the drawings,” said Fillion.
If you have any information about these incidents, call the Airdrie RCMP at 403-945-7200 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).