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article imageVandals defecate on church pulpit and smash stained-glass windows

By JohnThomas Didymus     Nov 16, 2011 in Crime
Ansonville - On Monday night, vandals desecrated the Cedar Hill AME Zion Church in Ansonville, east of Charlotte, North Carolina, spray-painting obscenities on the wall, smashing stained-glass windows and defecating on the church pulpit.
The Cedar Hill AME Zion Church was the worst hit among churches vandalized by unknown persons in North Carolina on Monday night.
MSNBC reports that the State Bureau of Investigation, in collaboration with the Anson County and Stanly County Sheriff's offices, are investigating Monday night's cases of vandalism of church and church premises. The Cedar Hill AME Zion Church was in ruins when the pastor arrived in the morning.
Some of the spray-painted messages said "God is a lie," "House of the Devil," and "666." The messages also included racial slurs and swastika symbols, suggesting that the vandals might have been neo-Nazis.
The vandals tore out the church's air conditioning units and left water taps running in the building. Before the vandals left, they set a cross on fire at the front lawn of the church.
Pastor at the Cedar Hill Church, Reverend Renee Bethea, said: “They tore up our building but they didn’t take our spirit.”
Church members, assisted by volunteer Fire Fighters, set to work on Tuesday morning clearing up the mess and repairing the damage. Pastor Bethea asked members of her church not to bring young children. She said they might be devastated at the sight of the destruction. MSNBC reports the pastor broke into tears when she saw a child's tombstone that had been hurled through church window.
NBC reports several other churches were vandalized on Monday night in neighboring Stanly County and Rowan County. But unlike Cedar Hill Church, none of them were broken into. One of the churches, Faith Baptist Church in Oakboro, had "666" spray-painted on its outside walls.
Wsoctv.com reports pastors in the area met on Tuesday night to offer help to affected churches. Reverend Robert Burr's Ansonville United Methodist Church was not affected, but he said: "We've all been assaulted, not just one church."
Police in their investigations have been seeking assistance from local stores that sell spray paint. Crime Stoppers has offered $1,000 reward for information leading to arrest. Anonymous calls can be made to 704-982-0711.
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