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Apr-24-2011 12:37printcomments

Salem Bible Church Damaged by Vandals

Damage is expected to be 'considerable'.

Vandalized Cross at Salem Bible Church
Photo: Marion Co. Sheriff's Office

(Salem, Oregon) - Five juveniles were arrested Saturday afternoon after they broke into the Salem Bible Church, 4109 Center St., in Salem. Deputy Matt Hagan received the 2:04pm call from a nearby resident reporting that he had seen some kids break a window at the Church and go inside.

Upon arrival, Hagan contacted several suspects who later admitted to breaking into the church and vandalizing the interior.

Deputy Hagan found they had thrown a beer bottle through a rear widow and discharged the contents of a fire extinguisher throughout the building.

A cross was torn from the wall, spray paint used on the floors, the bathroom fixtures sabotaged, and articles throughout the church smashed. No estimate of the damages is available, but Hagan characterized it as "considerable".

Deputies were unable to contact anyone connected to the church, and they were concerned about securing the building to prevent further damage.

Assistant Manager Rod Hohstadt, from Home Depot was contacted and immediately dispatched some workers with supplies to board up the window. As a gesture of goodwill, Home Depot provided their services to make the repairs without charge to the county or the church.

The juveniles ranged in age from 13 to 14. They were released to their parents and will be cited into juvenile court on charges of burglary and criminal mischief.

None of the suspects were associated with the church.

Hagan learned that in lieu of holding the normal Easter Sunday services, members of the Church plan to organize a work party to clean up the mess.

News Release from: Marion Co. Sheriff's Office

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salem bible church May 23, 2011 8:34 am (Pacific time)

I don't know if the boys and their families will see this --- I hope so. We were unable to accept your help w/cleaning due to the dangerous dust (it will collect in your lungs) from the fire-extinguishers. We are still waiting for the professional crew to come back and finish cleaning one more room. On one hand we realize it is important for you to be held accountable -- we are discussing the options given to us to minimize the load on the court system. After everything is done, and you have completed whatever it is you have to do -- we would like to have an opportunity to encourage you in always doing what is right --- there are so many GOOD activities available to you -- sports, arts, jobs, volunteering, camps, home chores (?), and lots of fun things that don't hurt others or cause damage -- I hope you'll be around to talk.

salem bible church May 23, 2011 8:38 am (Pacific time)

To the boys and there families -- We LOVE the fact you offered to help clean. Sadly, the fine dust from the extinguishers made it impossible for any of us to do the work. We hope there will be many opportunities for you to get to know us and let us show you some of the many GOOD activities and things you can be doing that don't hurt people or damage the property of others. Please keep in touch with us as everything gets done in the next few weeks and months. Sincerely -- Barb

..... April 25, 2011 3:35 pm (Pacific time)

i was on of the boys and i know alot of u hate me and i respect tht i hate myself i completely offered to help clean up we did not take anything and just for the record tht cross we never touched there is coffee stuff there but the cross must have gotten knock down on accident by the fire department

Editor: Make sure that is the only time you ever cross that line, you can get through this but that is very serious as you know and you will always know that you allowed yourself to be part of this.  You have some make up work to do, but you can do that and I suggest it; make amends with that church after the smoke clears.  Dedicate your life to something good man.  

Anonymous April 25, 2011 7:06 am (Pacific time)

This is a true story. My dad was a missionary to American Indians. When I was but a lad, 10-12 years old, my dad's church was broken into, and much was stolen. The Sunday after the robbery, the church all prayed. Just so ya know, my dad did not steal culture, or make people change, he just taught the love of Jesus. He was a simple man. But anyway, after Sunday prayer, a few days later, those who robbed the church broke in again. They put/gave everything back. I promise you this is a true story. I am 53 now, but remember it like it was yesterday. Just had to share.

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