Vandals cause $40k damage to church

BETHEL, Pa. - August 28, 2009 What happened at the Tri-County Worship Center in Bethel, Berks County was more like a rampage than a simple act of vandalism.

Investigators say at least two people broke a back window late at night earlier this week.

They then entered the sanctuary and simply started ripping the place apart.

Furniture was slashed, the audio equipment was ripped out and smashed, the offices were turned up side down, and then they finished the job by emptying the contents of two fire extinguishers on top of everything they destroyed.

The church's pastor says he's just grateful this all happened while nobody was there.

"Thank God he took some things, but he did not take someone," Pastor Ted Williams said.

Reverend Williams goes on to say that he plans on using this as a teaching point for his congregation and he hopes those responsible will, some day, do the same.

"When you go and start targeting God's house, that's almost like a direct front to God, but I think most of the people in our congregation, I think they would have an attitude of grace and of loving," Pastor Williams.

Meantime, local investigators are pouring through several clues the vandals left behind, beginning with blood stains on the window that was accessed for the break-in.

"There was blood left at the scene, shoe prints, maybe a couple fingerprints we may be able to make some sense out of once they process them," Corporal William Clark of the Bethel Police Department said.

Pastor Williams says he expects to have the church cleaned and ready for Sunday services minus the audio equipment and a bunch of musical instruments that were badly damaged.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Bethel Police Department.

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