CROWLEY, LA — “This was the door that was damaged,” Pastor Sherard Marlon Joseph said in front of Jerusalem Baptist Church.
Joseph saw vandalism at one of his churches for the third time on Sunday.
It’s the seventh time in the last five months someone threw something at church glass and left it shattered.
The five churches impacted are First Church of the Nazarene, St. Theresa Catholic Church, First Lutheran Church, Jerusalem Baptist Church, and most recently Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church.
“I just fear that it would escalate. Praying that it doesn’t,” admitted Joseph who preaches at Jerusalem Church and Morning Star.
Crowley Police are working with Louisiana State Police and the FBI to make sure the crime doesn’t escalate.
Chief Jimmy Broussard said he’s concerned these acts might be hate crimes, but FBI officials are not committed to prosecuting federally yet, but if they think that the vandal’s motive is racist, they would pick it up.
Chief Broussard is a pastor himself and said this crime hits close to home.
“It is totally unacceptable,” Broussard said News 10. “Anybody that doesn’t have respect for the house of God, I don’t have respect for them.”
Investigators are diligently following all leads, though their first lead did not pan out. They met with a group concerned citizens Wednesday.
Chief Broussard said when he finds who is responsible, they will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, “God does not sleep, nor does he slumber. He sees everything, and He sees who is doing this. Not only do they have to face to the wheels of justice if they are caught, but ultimately they will face God and have to answer to him for what they’ve done.”
Pastor Joseph said replacing the doors three times now are a significant cost to the church, but he’s more concerned with the culprit’s conscience.
“Glass can be replaced, but souls can be lost forever,” Joseph explained. “I get asked this question all the time with the vandalism going around what do we want in return from the person? Actually, to stop, most importantly, hurting the houses of God, but also to give their lives to Christ, and He will forgive you as well as I will forgive you.”
Police say the biggest challenges to making an arrest are getting information from people who may know something about the crime and gathering concrete evidence to build up a case that will hold in court.
One thing that will help is surveillance cameras. Pastor Joseph plans to install some at the Morning Star Church within the next couple of weeks.
There is a thousand dollar cash reward for information that leads to an arrest in the case. Tips can be given through the Crime Stoppers of Acadia Parish.