Leaders of two Arcadia churches recently targeted by vandals say their religious communities "feel violated." Clergy from Church of the Good Shepherd United Methodist and Holy Angels Catholic Church gathered Wednesday at a press conference held at the Arcadia Police Department.
"We feel like our house has been broken into," Good Shepherd Associate Pastor Stephen Wilson said.
Holy Angels Rev. Michael Evans said his community reacted "with a little bit of shock," but will band together to repair the damage.
Vandals broke into an office at Good Shepherd the night of Jan. 19 or early morning of Jan. 20. They reportedly threw clergy robes onto the ground, discharged a fire extinguisher and burned part of a portrait before making off with a guitar and sound equipment.
The second incident, at Holy Angels, took place around 2:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning. The vandals lit a fire in a hallway and broke two religious statues, along with a DVD player, officials say.
Police say they are taking the incidents, which are likely related, seriously.
"Without question, the vandalism that occurred is a hate crime," Arcadia Police Lt. Bob Anderson said.
Arcadia police have warned other area religious institutions to remain on guard.
Anyone with information on this incident is encouraged to contact the Arcadia Police Department at (626) 574-5150. If you prefer to provide information anonymously, you may call “Crime Stoppers” by dialing 800-222-TIPS (8477), texting the letters TIPLA plus your tip to CRIMES (274637), or using the tip page at Los Angeles Regional Crime Stoppers, http://lacrimestoppers.org/