A 27-year-old man from San Dimas has been arrested after allegedly vandalizing a church in Newport Beach, causing tens of thousands of dollars in damage.
The incident occurred Saturday morning at the United Methodist Christ Church by the Sea.
Video footage from the church, built in the 1930’s, shows windows boarded up after the 27-year-old allegedly shattered stained glass windows that were given as gifts to the church many years ago.
Officials at Christ Church by the Sea estimate that the vandal caused $80,000-$100,000 worth of damage.
Reverend Paul Capetz, a pastor of the church, told KTLA that when he was notified of the vandalism by police, he was in a state of shock.
“When I got here and saw the damage with my own eyes, I felt like I had been punched in the gut,” Capetz said. “At first, I saw the damage outside, the windows all boarded up and then I walk into the sanctuary, and I just couldn’t believe my eyes. There was shattered glass everywhere, and I mean everywhere.”
Janelle Salam, who works at the church, said she was having trouble understanding why someone would want to vandalize the church.
“It doesn’t make sense for him to come into a church where people go and sit and meditate and just destroy that like that,” she said.
Pastor Capetz said that while it’s easy to get discouraged after incidents like this, talking about the incident and praying for the 27-year-old had him feeling much more hopeful.
“Life goes on and the message of Easter is that there’s always hope,” he said.
Volunteers were able to clean up enough so that the church held its regular services Sunday morning, and those who spoke to KTLA said they are hopeful that they’ll be able to raise enough money for needed repairs.
So far, police have not identified the 27-year-old man or said why he wanted to cause so much damage to the church. Authorities also believe the man has no connection to the church. He was booked into the Orange County Jail.