Muncie police investigating vandalism at multiple churches

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MUNCIE, Ind. - Muncie police are investigating three cases of vandalism at two different churches in the last few days.

Some time Sunday night, or early Monday morning, somebody left spray painted messages on Calvary Baptist Church on East Jackson Street, and Emanuel Temple Church on East Highland Avenue. Muncie Police Chief Joe Winkle says the graffiti appears to be the work of the same person or group.

“Defamatory comments about God,” Winkle said. “There is some profanity involved in it. There are actually some references to Trump.”

The graffiti also includes what appears to be an anarchist symbol and something resembling a pentagram. The messages found Monday were written in black spray paint. Police also learned that Calvary Baptist Church had been tagged with red spray paint on Friday.

Winkle says he contacted the FBI about the cases over the weekend.

“They don’t think it constitutes any kind of hate crime at this time,” Winkle said. “But we are going to send them the information, the pictures, and they’re going to see if there’s anything on their end that they need to take care of.”

Although both churches have predominantly African American congregations, Winkle says there’s nothing to indicate that’s why the churches were targeted.

“Initially, you’re looking to see anything racially written on the churches, and we haven’t found anything like that,” Winkle said.

“No, I don’t think it was racially motivated at all,” said Emanuel Temple Church Pastor, Donna Marie Smith. “I just think that the spirit of the devil has entered into the heart of somebody.”

Smith couldn’t think of any reason why her church would be one of those targeted by vandals.

“We’re peaceful people, we mind our own business,” Smith said. “And we’ve been shown so much love by the people in the community.”

As investigators search for any leads and possible suspects, Smith was giving thanks to another local church that paid for a professional cleaning service to Emanuel Temple to wash off the mess.

“They had the power washers, and all the equipment, and all the things,” Smith said. “Professionals.”

Anyone with information about the vandalism is asked to contact the Muncie Police Department’s Investigations Division at 765-747-4867.

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