Church vandals

Monday, January 10, 2005

Churches offer refuge, sanctuary and hope for so many people in need of spiritual comfort.

Because of this, it is almost impossible to fathom why anyone would want to do harm to church buildings.

But five Cape Girardeau churches have been vandalized or burglarized in recent weeks. Some had money stolen. All had damage to windows, doors and furniture.

That the burglaries happened during the Christmas season seems significant. Churches tend to open their doors more often for services that mark the special season and share the Gospel.

Fortunately, the break-ins didn't stop any congregation from worshipping as usual.

Two Cape Girardeau men have been charged with the burglaries. Both have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Police had help making the arrests. One of the items stolen from the law office was traceable. Each of the men admitted their participation in the crimes, police said, once they were arrested as suspects.

Police aren't certain what would motivate church vandals to commit their crimes.

But pastors have a guess: They are hurting and angry and decide to take it out on churches where comfort and compassion should be available.

The law-enforcement community -- from police to prosecutors -- worked hard in this case to make sure the faith community was protected.

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