Vandals strike at St. Andrew’s Church; four more church break-ins in county

Satan’s pres­ence was felt on the walls of an historic church here on Easter Monday morning.
Vandals struck St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church with vari­ous colours of spray paint. The word “Satan” was spray painted onto the stone wall of the building, while all the doors were defaced with various anti-Christian scrawls.
Jim Baker, a member of the board of management of the church, spent some time trying to re­move some of the insults. They included the number 666, a reference to Satan, and “the mark of the beast,” as well as upside down crosses, symbolic of black masses and sacrilege, as well as the words “F— Christ,” which were spray painted over the sign welcoming people to worship.
On a set of double doors around the north side of the church was a message about a son rising against his father, and also the slogan, “Jesus Loves Me.”
Baker said, “It happened be­tween Sunday night and Mon­day morning.” He learned of the vandalism when he visited a store and heard some­one talking about it.
He said Tuesday afternoon he removed much of the filth from the doors, but paint on stone walls is more difficult. All the doors, a storage shed, a sign, and other parts of the church were defaced, usually with Satanic symbols. “There were a num­ber of upside down crosses, and ‘Jezebel’ on the storage shed,” he said.
Police officers were at the church on Monday afternoon, and one said they had checked other churches in the area and there was no damage to any of them.
Baker, too, had talked to pol­ice and concluded, “It seems to be an isolated incident.”
Baker added that he has some sympathy for the police because, “It’s pretty difficult, from a police aspect, to find out who did that.”
As for the total damage, he said he is not sure. He knows the amount of time he spent cleaning the mess, but he is not sure what can be done about the pointed stone walls. “It’s a bit of a process getting the walls clean,” he said.
Anyone with information can contact Detective Constable Larry Drew  at  519-843-4240 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222TIPS (1-800-222-8477).

More church break-ins
There were five more church break-ins in the county over the Easter weekend.
Sometime between 11:30pm on March 21 and 7am on March 22 , someone broke into the Drayton Reformed Church on Wellington Street.
OPP Constable Keith Robb said the thieves gained entry by forcing open a window ransacked several rooms. They took a small quantity of foodstuffs.
DRAYTON – Sometime between 11:30pm on March 21 and 7am on March 22 there was a break-in at the Christian Reformed Church on Concession 8. They gained entry by forcing open a side door, forced open a safe and stole a large quantity of cash.
DRAYTON – Between 11:30pm on March 21 and 7am on March 22 someone broke into the Drayton Mennonite Church on Wellington Street by forcing open a rear door. They ransacked the minister’s office but nothing was reported missing.
CLIFFORD – Sometime between 1pm on March 23 and 1:30 on March 24, thieves broke into St. Johns Evangelist Lutheran Church on Clarke Street by forcing open the rear door and attempted to force open a safe but were unsuccessful.
CLIFFORD – Sometime between 1pm on March 23 and 1:30pm on March 24 someone broke into Knox United Church on Allan Street. They gained entry by forcing a rear window and forced open a safe. Nothing was reported missing.
Police believe the break-ins are part of a series of dozens that have occurred in Grey, Bruce, and Wellington Counties and Waterloo Region.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the county OPP Street Crime Unit at (519) 842-4340 Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (1-800-222-8477).

Another church hit
CHATSWORTH – Grey County OPP is investigating yet another church break-in which was among three crimes on Good Friday that appear to be related.
Constable Steve Starr said the three break, enter, and theft occurrences occurred over the same time frame – overnight, between about 7pm on March 20 and early in the day on Good Friday.
A break-and-enter was discovered at the Christ Angli­can Church on Toronto Street in Markdale at about 7:30am on Good Friday.
There were no signs of forced entry to the church. In­side an office was broken into and a storage closet was ran­sacked. A small amount of petty cash was stolen and the culprits left through a door on the east side of the church.
The All County Feed Mill on Grey County Road 12, in the Goring was also entered over night. The front door of the build­ing was pried open and an office entered. A small amount of cash was located and taken from a petty cash box. Nothing else appeared to be missing. 
Eckhard’s Flower Store on Toronto Street in Flesherton was also broken into.  The front door was pried open to gain entry. Starr said unfortunately the people residing above the store did not hear anything overnight. The cash register was entered and an undisclosed amount of float money was stolen.
“These break, enter, and thefts appear to be related by time frame and method,” Starr said. “Police have noticed a sharp increase in break, enter and thefts to churches and non traditional business targets. In the majority of cases petty cash is stolen.
He asked that residents, es­pecially those who live near churches, to report any suspi­cious activity to police.
“Be mindful of strange vehicles parked nearby church­es and businesses not normally frequented after hours, persons loitering around property, and interior or exterior lights being turned on or off at odd hours,” he suggested.
In addition, anyone who possesses information that might assist in the investigation of these crimes is asked to contact Grey County OPP or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.