Six Carson Valley churches vandalized by taggers Tuesday
Nevada Appeal News Service
GARDNERVILLE – The pastor of one of the six Douglas County churches vandalized early Tuesday morning said the culprits failed in their efforts.
“Something like this draws us much closer together, so it has just the reverse function of what they intended,” said Tom Windsor of Trinity Lutheran Church.
Douglas County deputies received the first vandalism report at 1:25 a.m. when a parishioner at Trinity Lutheran Church on Douglas Avenue reported spotting a two-tone late ’80s or early ’90s Ford Explorer or similar body style of vehicle leave the church parking lot at a high rate of speed.
“One of our members saw it take place,” said Windsor. “Someone also slashed all four tires on the (day-care) van. The van’s tires are being repaired. They didn’t gain access to the church.”
Sgt. Tom Mezzetta of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office said the vehicle was described as being “loud” as if the transmission or exhaust was in poor condition.
Deputies checked the other churches throughout the Carson Valley and discovered similar damage and graffiti to five other churches. In addition to Trinity and the United Methodist Church, St. Gall Catholic Church on Centerville Lane in Gardnerville, Day Springs Christian Assembly on Tillman Lane in Gardnerville, Hilltop Community Church on Sunridge Drive in northern Douglas County and Shepherd of the Sierra Church also located in northern Douglas County were hit.
“The graffiti included profane remarks about God, the numbers 666, upside down crosses and references to Satan being the perpetrator’s god,” Mezzetta said.
Windsor and other pastors say cleanup efforts are already under way.
“They got a lot of our glass and part of the stucco,” said Pastor Pete Nelson, of Carson Valley United Methodist Church on Centerville Lane in Gardnerville. “We just got some acetone and started cleaning. We covered it up with construction paper, so people wouldn’t have to see it written on the side of the church.”
Father Paul McCollum of St. Gall Catholic Church said the vandalism was minor and on the side away from Centerville.
“It was fairly minor but still disturbing,” he said. “We’re working on cleaning it up. We’re grateful it wasn’t something more permanent. We’re trying to have a forgiving heart. I hope anybody who has any information will let us know.”
Nelson said the vandalism affects the parishioners and that’s why it’s important to clean it up.
Pastor E.D. Thyr, of Shepherd of the Sierra Lutheran Church, said the police called at 3 a.m. to inform him of the damage.
“There was only one spot where they painted the outside wall with a 666,” he said. All the rest of it is on our windows. We’ve got a guy scraping it off right now.”
A spokesman for Hilltop Community Church said the vandals hit the church’s front doors and it was being cleaned up.
At about 7:30 a.m., deputies found similar graffiti at Douglas High School and on Ironwood Town Homes near the school in Minden.
“It may be reasonably assumed that these acts of vandalism are connected to today’s date, 06-06-06,” Mezzetta said. “If there is any meaning to the fact that six houses of worship had been targeted, it is unknown.”
Mezzetta asked that anyone with information call the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office at 782-9911 or Secret Witness at 782-7463. A reward of up to $1,000 is offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.
Secret Witness turns 40 this year – and it’s helped solve many of Northern Nevada’s most violent crimes
Secret Witness tips have played a pivotal role in solving some of the most violent crimes the greater Northern Nevada region has seen. To date, Secret Witness has paid out more than $300,000 in rewards to anonymous tipsters. Rewards range from $50 (graffiti/tagging) to $1,500 (armed robbery) to $2,500 (murder).