String of church vandalism incidents in Bartholomew County prompt warning from sheriff

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COLUMBUS, Ind.– Authorities in Bartholomew County believe several cases of church vandalism are connected.

They say churches should be aware and prepare for potential vandalism.

Vandals damaged the Ohio Chapel United Methodist Church in Ogilville. 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.

Another church, Triumphant Baptist Church, was also hit over the weekend. Exterior and security flood lights were damaged and windows were also broken.

Investigators believe the same group of vandals smashed a window at White Creek Untied Methodist Church on Friday night, just hours after targeting The Ohio Chapel United Methodist Church.

The Brown County Sheriff’s Office is also reporting vandalism cases at 3 local churches. Both departments are investigating to see if the cases between the counties are connected. Deputies said some of the same eerie messages were written at multiple locations.

Police say churches should take action, like installing video cameras, throughout their buildings.

“We believe there is a connection to these church vandalisms and this is a sign that the vandals aren’t going to stop,” said Bartholomew County Sheriff Matt Myers. He added, “You would think churches are kind of off limits and these people are targeting churches, some of the messages, the damage, they’re obviously angry.”

The sheriff’s office is providing extra patrols for county churches. Police say anyone who spots something suspicious should call 911.

See photos below from the incident in Ogilville.