Teens accused of trashing church

October 8, 2009 5:27:00 PM PDT
Hearts dropped when members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Alvin saw the destruction -- tens of thousands of dollars in damages, caused by vandals with a sweet tooth.The first question on the minds of church members was who could do such a thing? Now they're getting answers.

Alvin police say a parent overheard teens talking and called in a tip. That led to the questioning of the two suspects who confessed today without hesitation.

Inside the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Alvin crews are cleaning up what vandals left behind.

Sean McQueen with the cleaning crew said, "It's just wrong what they did to these people. It's pretty malicious."

Police say two teen boys broke in the back door of the empty church Tuesday while skipping school. Investigators say the suspects spent hours inside. In addition to playing basketball and making milkshakes, they chased each other with fire extinguishers, spraying them throughout the building. A white powder was left on virtually everything. Church bishop Michael Larsen says they were saddened to see what was done.

"We don't hold any ill will against them," he said. "It is upsetting to see a sacred edifice defiled like this."

So much was sprayed in the church organ that they're not sure it can be fixed.

Alvin Police Chief Mike Merkel said, "It's sad that this is how sometimes our young adults act when they're bored or when they're doing something they shouldn't be doing like skipping school."

Bishop Larsen describes a feeling of violation remains. But he insists no matter the number of fire extinguishers used, nothing can put out the flame of this church's faith. That's the spark that leads them to believe the suspects might find some good in all this.

"Hopefully it will be a turning point in their lives," said Bishop Larsen.

The good news is that cleanup should be done sometime Saturday. Normal services will then be held at the church as usual Sunday. Crews say it could cost up to $40,000 for the cleanup project.

Police say the boys will be prosecuted, but they admit that if the teens do not have prior records, if they are convicted, they likely will not receive any punishment stiffer than probation. We're also told that it's possible that their parents could be required to pay the cleanup and repair costs.

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