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Posted 03 Jun 2001   For week ended June 01, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 30May01

By Kent Larsen

Sandy UT Police: Worst Church Vandalism Ever

SANDY, UTAH -- Police in Sandy, Utah are calling the vandalism of an LDS Chapel in their town the worst vandalism of a church they have ever seen. Vandals struck the chapel sometime late Friday or early Saturday overturning pianos, file cabinets and a refrigerator and punching holes in the walls. Damage is estimated to be in excess of $100,000.

Police believe the vandals gained access to the building through a window that was either left open or unlocked. Entering the building, the vandals went on a rampage, leaving nearly everything in the building damaged, defaced or covered with debris. Every faucet and toilet in the building was broken, flooding many rooms. Pictures were taken from the walls and smashed and glass from broken light fixtures covered everything. The vandals also sprayed a fire extinguisher throughout the chapel, covering everything in the room.

"I don't think there's any place they didn't get," church member David Scott said. "Whoever did it was very angry." Sandy police Sgt. Kevin Thacker said he was surprised by the amount of damage, "I have never seen vandalism like this before. The magnitude is incredible."

Police have not classified the vandalism as a hate crime because none of the evidence they have indicates that Mormons were singled out. And police do not expect to change the designation unless an interview following an arrest indicates otherwise.

So far police have recovered footprints and fingerprints from the building and possible leads from neighbors. According to Sandy Utah East Stake President Barry Newbold, the damage was discovered just one hour before a funeral was to begin Saturday morning, and stake officials were forced to quickly move the funeral to another chapel. The building has been closed for repairs, which are expected to take several weeks, and the Willow Canyon 2nd and 5th wards are meeting elsewhere in the meantime.

Stake President Newbold said he was shocked at the attack, "My reaction is sadness and frustration," Stake President Barry Newbold said. "I'm sad for all the people who are displaced, frustrated for such a senseless act." And Monsignor Robert Servatius, whose Blessed Sacrament Church suffered minor vandalism two weeks ago, said the attack was on every religion, "Although we are different faiths, we're all in the same ministry of helping people's relationships with God," he said. "It's a slap at all sacred places."


Vandals trash Sandy LDS meetinghouse
Deseret News 27May01 D1
By Pat Reavy: Deseret News staff writer

Police seek ties in vandalisms
Deseret News 29May01 D1
By Pat Reavy: Deseret News staff writer
Is destruction at Sandy churches connected?


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