Vandals Leave Church With Thousands In Damage - WSET.com - ABC13

Vandals Leave Church With Thousands In Damage

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Reporter: James Gherardi l Videographer: Ira Quillen

Goode, VA - It's Bedford County's second vandalized church, in less than two weeks. The damage to Mount Rock Baptist in Goode is estimated at well over $10,000.

It is the oldest African American church in Bedford County, more than 160 years old. The tight-knit church of about 50 discovered their destroyed worship hall right before their Sunday service. What they saw inside they say is devastating.

"Once we got in, we saw everything, the windows were broken out, and I mean it was just so much damage, I mean we just couldn't bear it, couldn't believe it," said James Anderson, a parishioner that discovered the damage.

Anderson grew up amid the pews in Mount Rock Baptist. He, like many others is a fifth generation parishioner. He considers everything within these walls, his home.

"We're a small congregation. We don't do anything to anyone; we come up here, have our services every so often, and then we just leave. So it has to be someone that just has some hate in their heart," he said.

Damage was discovered before service Sunday morning. Members say though devastating, it wasn't going to stop them from what they came to do.

"We'd all come together, and made the decision, that we're going to go on in the name of Jesus in spite of what's happening to us, and we just have to move forward in faith, and that's what we did that day, and believe it or not, it was a very powerful service," said Kimberly Anderson.

"As dastardly a deed as I've seen in a long time in Bedford County. You don't understand why and how people would do something like this," said Sheriff Mike Brown.

Members of the church were cleaning the chapel Saturday night. It was after that they say, the crime must have been committed.

"All the windows broken out, fire extinguisher discharged, religious items thrown around," said Brown.

The Sheriff's office suspects the more than $10,000 in damage was done by a juvenile, just looking for trouble.

"You wanted to shed a tear, but we knew we had to be strong. Just to see something like this that our ancestors just worked for and just brought us up in, I mean, it was just really terrible," said James Anderson. "We have to move forward, like I said, in faith. And all we can do is pray for whoever did this to us," said Kimberly Anderson.

The sheriff's office says that what could have been done as a prank is punishable with years of jail time. If you have any information that could help in the investigation, you're asked to call the Bedford County Sheriff's Office at (540) 586-4800.

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