PRESTONSBURG — Despite some effort made by the perpetrator to clean up after himself, St. James Episcopal Church was left with a sizeable mess with which to contend, after a vandal broke in overnight Monday.
Fixtures were ripped from the walls, bizarre messages were scrawled in several areas, books were stacked seemingly at random throughout the building, furniture was broken, and a fire extinguisher was sprayed across a wide area. Several hymnals were also ripped apart, but the culprit took time afterwards to gather the torn pages and empty covers, and put them in a trash bag at the rear of the church.
Police called to the scene were able to easily identify a suspect, when they found the alleged vandal’s shirt, coat, shoes, socks and cell phone stacked in a tidy pile outside a church door. If that were not enough, the alleged culprit — a juvenile — also signed his name and address in the church’s guest register, along with the words, “Emotions are power. I need others as they need me.”
Other messages scrawled on walls, carved into the altar, and left as notes around the church fail to reveal a coherent message behind the attack. The graffiti included, “There is no god,” “The method of Loci is complete,” and “This is checkmate. Great game.”
Pastor Judy Yunker said she was relieved when she learned the suspect had been arrested.
“I hope he gets help,” Yunker said. “To think of him wandering the streets. There was nobody here for him to harm, but what if there was?”
To make matters worse, the church had just received a thorough cleaning, in preparation for a visit from a church bishop.
“The church was just immaculate,” Yunker said.
Damage to the church was estimated at several thousand dollars.