West Covina police are investigating a church vandalism that occurred early Saturday as possible hate crimes, officials said.
The incident was reported about 3:50 a.m. Saturday at St. Christopher Catholic Church, 629 South Glendora Ave., West Covina Police spokesman Rudy Lopez said.
Three statues, pavement and walls of the church were spray-painted with “Bow down to Jehovah” and Bible verses, video from the scene showed.
Surveillance video shows a person spray-painting one of the statues.
One of the statues have since been cleaned, Father Joseph Dass told KTLA. He added that he was not aware of any person having anger toward the church, but thinks the vandal may be someone who does not believe in worshiping other statues besides those of God.
“We can have a meaningful dialogue over these differences,” Dass said. “It doesn’t have to go to this extreme.”
“It’s a shock and a trauma and we tend to feel hurt by it,” Bishop David O’Connell, of the San Gabriel Archdiocese, told KTLA. “Because actually this church over the years has been a great church for helping the homeless and helping the people in need.”
This was the first time in the church’s 40-year history that it has been vandalized, but Dass was thankful the vandal or vandals did not inflict lasting damage.
The estimated damages make the crime a felony, Lopez said.
The West Covina Police Department is offering a $100 reward for information leading to the person responsible for the vandalism.
Another church, the West Covina Christian Church, had similar markings as the ones found at St. Christopher Saturday. It is unclear if the incidents are connected.
KTLA’s Stephen Acosta contributed to this story.