UPDATE: Police took Shea Tahtinen into custody on Tuesday, August 25.
GREENCASTLE, Ind. (Aug. 24, 2015) – Police are looking for a man believed responsible for vandalizing several Greencastle churches earlier this month and said he’s also wanted on more significant charges related to child pornography.
On August 13, police found graffiti had defaced multiple churches in the area. Someone spray-painted messages like “die with your false God” and “God hates you” on doors and signs at Southern Baptist Church, Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church and Gobin Memorial United Methodist Church.
Detectives believe Shea Tahtinen, 18, is responsible for the vandalism. Police have issued an arrest warrant for criminal mischief and possession of child pornography. The latter charges came to light while police were investigating the vandalism case.
“I think in a lot of ways today is more difficult than the day we showed up and there was graffiti because you know there is an individual that is hurting and a family that is hurting,” said Bryan Langdock, senior pastor at Gobin Memorial United Methodist Church.
According to court documents, police searched his cell phone and found a video of two young boys engaged in a sex act. Investigators also found a video of him allegedly burning a Bible in a church parking lot. Islamic torture videos and school shooting videos were also recovered.
“That’s just so inappropriate and to have someone like that in the community. It does not make it stronger,” said Alexis Freund, a neighbor who lives near on of the vandalized churches.
“We have a new youth ministries coordinator that spent a lot of time in the high school as a substitute teacher and she told me that she had interactions with the kid and she said sweet kid and I’ve heard that a lot,” said Pastor Langdock.
Investigators say they found spray paint and similar graffiti in a shed on the family’s property. Tahtinen allegedly also bragged about the crime.
Pastor Langdock is already showing compassion towards Tahtinen.
“I forgive you, I have no idea what kind of pain and struggle you have been through but we would love to reach out in any way that we can.”
Greencastle police said Tahtinen moved to Muncie. They were working with Muncie police to locate him and asked anyone with information to call the Greencastle Police Department at (765) 653-2925 or (765) 653-3155 after business hours.