U.S. Attorney: Church vandalism can become a federal crime

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WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — The people who broke into a local church may have committed a federal crime when they desecrated the bible and the American flag.

“It was hard to comprehend how someone could do something like that in a house of worship,” said Pastor Andy Jerome.

On June 7, several people broke into the church causing extensive damage. There were human feces smeared on the American flag, the bible was ripped to shreds and multiple fire extinguishers were discharged throughout the building.

Wilkes barre City Police are still searching for the vandals. On Monday, acting U.S. Attorney Bruce Brandler addressed the severity of their actions.

He said in a statement, “this activity is not only abhorrent but also potentially constitutes a serious federal crime,” Brandler said the FBI is prepared to investigate.

“I’m kind of glad they’re pursuing it since we don’t know exactly who did it. As a church, we already decided we forgive them, but we also understand that we don’t want them to continue to do this type of damage to other churches or other properties,” stated Pastor Jerome.

Jerome says parishioners were hurt by the crime. On Sunday, he told them this was a test of their faith, an opportunity to practice what they preach.

Jerome says they’re trying to focus on the blessings, “we had overwhelming support from our local community and our government officials. It really just blew me away.”

The church also received donations to cover the repairs and to install a security system.

Anyone with information or who may have captured security footage relevant to this incident is asked to contact the Wilkes-Barre police department.

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