OGDEN, Utah (ABC4) – The assistant pastor of an Ogden church says a recent wave of vandalism attacks geared toward the church has caused more than $2,000 in damage. That church leader tells ABC4 what they are now doing in hopes of stopping future vandalism.
Austin Schmidt is the assistant pastor at Potter’s House Christian Center. He claims a group of teenagers is responsible for throwing rocks through the church’s windows early Sunday morning. He says this is not the first time.
“I think the first incident happened on April 25,” Schmidt says. “We were having a wedding that Sunday morning and we walked into all our windows shattered out, lawn chairs from the park through the windows.”
Schmidt says the church reached out to the police but didn’t have much information to give them. Church leaders then decided it was time to install security cameras around the building. The church spent nearly $1,000 adding the new security feature.
Schmidt says church leaders were hoping the new cameras would deter those who broke the church’s windows from returning. However, he says that two weeks ago “a group of kids came and threw rocks from the park through the windows, and knew they were on camera. Did it anyway.”
In a few different security videos, the suspects can be heard talking about the cameras before throwing rocks at the windows.
During a third incident, which took place early Sunday morning, a suspect standing near the road is heard saying “Oh, we love Jesus. I love you Jesus, I promise with my heart.”
Schmidt says a member of the church is doing the repairs free of labor charges, but quoted the damage from the last two incidents at $2,000.
He says the Ogden Police Department is working with the church to find the vandals, and the officers involved have been great to work with over the last few weeks.
Up until Sunday, the church had only shared security footage with a few people, including law enforcement. However, after the third incident, church leaders decided to share the latest video on social media. Since Sunday, that video has been shared hundreds of times on Facebook. Schmidt says many community members have reached out with information about the possible suspects. He says police have tracked down a few so far and thinks with the help of the community, all will be found.
Schmidt says because this has happened three times now, the church is looking to press charges. He adds, “It does seem like a targeted and planned thing that is happening for some reason. It’s not happening around the community. Just here.”
One of the church’s neighbors also spoke to ABC4 Utah. He says his family hasn’t had any vandalism at their house, but has had some problems with teenagers shining lasers through their windows. He isn’t sure if it’s the same group targeting his house and the church.
If you recognize anyone in the scurity footage, the church asks that you please contact the Ogden Police Department.