RICEVILLE (WATE) – Satanic symbols and profanities against Jesus have been spray painted on the walls of a century-old small town church. Church members who spoke with 6 News Sunday are still pretty shaken up.
Jones Chapel United Methodist Church was vandalized late Thursday night or early Friday morning, according to investigators. They were able to make an arrest shortly after the crime was reported.
Two 16-year-old boys who live close to the church have been charged with burglary and vandalism. Church members believe the boys broke into the church through a window that leads into the basement. The basement houses classrooms where Sunday school classes are taught.
The walls of the basement were covered with spray painted words of hatred against Jesus. One wall reads "Jesus is a..." followed by a 4-letter expletive. Another wall reads "Jesus took it in the..." followed by another profanity.
"'Shocking' is not the right word. It's deeply troubling and makes me angry," said Pastor John Crabtree.
There's also a sticky yellow liquid all over the basement floor.
The outside of the church was also targeted, along with the church's van.
"Writing nasty things about Jesus, satanic symbols, and swastikas on the walls. It's certainly a desecration and defacement. But it's really an attack on the very core of our faith," said Pastor Crabtree.
Luckily some church members had a hunch about who the culprits may have been. The sheriff's office was on scene shortly after the vandalism was reported.
"We had patrolmen, sergeants; even the sheriff came out and took fingerprints. They had someone in custody in very short order," said Pastor Crabtree.
The pastor does not think the two teens had any motive other than being destructive.
"Our hope is these young men will understand the hurt they caused, the damage they've done, and will learn and choose something better to do with their lives," said Pastor Crabtree.
Over the weekend, volunteers painted over the outside of the building and wiped the profanities off the van. They said getting the basement clean will take a lot more time.