Vandals damage Bartholomew County church set fire church pew and bible on fire

BARTHOLOMEW COUNTY, IND. – The Ohio Chapel United Methodist Church in Ogilville is a mess.

“You can look at the pages through here and tell that they tried to start the Bible on fire. They tried to burn the hymnal and then burnt the carpet. Downstairs they set a classroom on fire and burned up the pew,” said church caretaker Christy Ayres.

Police are searching for the person or persons who vandalized the church and even tried to burn the building down.

“At one point they came to the bathroom and broke the mirrors. They also took the cross on the wall and shoved in into the toilet,” said Ayres.

The Bartholomew County Sheriff’s office says vandals broke into the church late Friday night, smashed windows, damaged the property, and even tried to burn down the more than 100 -year-old church.

“With the damage that is here it would have to be a totally angry person or I would say more than one,” said Ayres.

The 20 person congregation wants to know why someone would attack their place of worship.

“We need to pray for these individuals one that they are found and two that they can get the help that they need,” said Ayres.

Ayres says the vandals wrote a note in the guestbook. The message reads “God works in mysterious ways”.

The church hopes that piece of evidence along with other items left at the scene leads to an arrest.

“They may have hurt our building but they did not hurt our spirit,” said Ayres.

Another church nearby was also broken into over the weekend. Detectives are working that case to see if there is a connection.

The sheriff’s office is asking the public to help them find who is responsible for the vandalism. If you have any information that may help authorities or if you were in the area between July 7 and July 8, contact Detective Will Kinman at 812-565-5926 or the Sheriff’s Office Tip Line: 812-379-1712.

A reward of up to $5,000 is being offered by the Investigators Association of Arson Investigators in cooperation with the Indian State Fire Marshal and the property insurance companies in Indiana.