Neighbors claim church vandals struck them, too - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Neighbors claim church vandals struck them, too

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A Mid-South church wasn't the only target in a weekend spray-painting spree.  Monday, neighbors said they too were struck by vandals who left their mark at New Life Holiness Church.

"I'm just shocked," neighbor Judy German said. "When they said that I went, 'What?'"

Racial slurs and obscenities, painted with silver paint, were first reported at New Life Holiness on Sunday morning.  Pastor Frederick Smith found the words on the front doors and back air conditioning units.

"I would pray the Lord would save them," Smith said.

While Smith prayed, neighbors were shocked about the vandalism.

"I've been here 30 years, and we've never had any problems like that," German said, adding her community welcomed the church as a neighbor.

"We were glad when somebody took up space there, because it's kind of a hazard because it backs right up to that interstate, and there used to be kind of shady kind of things going on," she said.
    
Another neighbor, Joel Giebel, had an unexpected twist to add to the caper.

"We woke up Sunday morning and our mailbox was spray-painted," Giebel said.
    
And that wasn't all. Somebody also spray painted the side of his neighbor's car.

By Monday, Smith said, the church had been cleaned up.  The pastor said members left the church around 10 p.m. Saturday.  When they returned for their Sunday morning service, the vandals had struck.  Neighbors verified a similar timeline

"It was troubling," Giebel said. "It was upsetting.  It was my house, you know?"

While the other tags were not racial, Giebel said, the vandals messed with the wrong neighborhood.

"Maybe they'll watch the news," he said. "Maybe they'll be afraid to go out, because people are watching...because I'm watching, and I hope my neighbors are watching."

So far, no arrests have been made.  Smith said vandals also struck the church when it first opened several years ago.

If you have any information that can lead to an arrest, you can get cash for clues by calling CrimeStoppers at 901-528-CASH.

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