Church in Redlands is vandalized for 3rd time in 1 week, prompting hate-crime investigation

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Saturday, July 9, 2022
Redlands church vandalized again, prompting hate-crime investigation
A Christian church in Redlands was vandalized for the third time in one week, an incident that police are investigating as a hate-crime.

REDLANDS, Calif. (KABC) -- Outside the ACTS Center in Redlands, a member of the non-denominational church power washed the walkways. Each pass peels away at the paint vandals poured on it, leaving behind their shoe prints in the wet paint.

"I don't know of any church in Redlands or even any buildings that have been targeted like this," said ACTS Center Rev. Pastor Kevin Matthews.

Matthews said that for the last three days, the church's security cameras have alerted them to strangers on the grounds, leading up to the vandalism Thursday night. When they arrived 30 minutes later they found messages left on doors and windows.

"The whole of the back of the church, front of the church was covered in signs and symbols of graffiti, curse words, anti-church words," he said.

The Redlands Police Department is investigating the vandalism as a hate crime. According to Matthews, security cameras provided to investigators showed the vandals being led by a man and a woman who appeared to be in her late teens.

"She was really telling them what to do and what to write and different things. The guy was also here but he kept away from the cameras," said Matthews.

Matthews believes the church was targeted following a separate break-in earlier in the week when vandals broke into a storage closet where the paint was kept. On Thursday, the vandals broke into the same closet but this time used it to graffiti the outside of the building.

"They tried everything they could to break into the building and we know that from windows that were pried open and broken, but could not find a way in ... because they would have completely trashed the inside with oil base paint, they had whole cans of oil-based paint," he said.

Redlands police tell Eyewitness News that two juveniles have been taken into custody. But they would not confirm if the woman who appeared to be the ringleader was one of them.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Redlands Police Department at (909) 798-7681.