A Woodland Hills church and police are asking for the public’s help in identifying the person or persons who burglarized and vandalized the house of worship several times over the past two weeks.
Woodland Hills Community Church, a United Church of Christ congregation located at 21338 Dumetz Road, was first targeted last month after an Oct. 21 altercation with a MeetUp group that agreed to gather at the church without permission, a WHCC representative told KTLA.
The MeetUp members tried to get into the church, and when questioned by the children and youth minister, they responded with “aggressive and racial threats,” according to the church.
An entry for that day on the MeetUp Los Angeles website shows a game-night social was planned, and 68 people had indicated that they would attend, though it’s unclear if that’s the same event that brought people to the church.
Later that day, a rainbow peace sign artwork was vandalized with black paint, according to the church, and it was struck again five days later with spray paint and “USA” graffiti.
On Oct. 27, the day after the second attack on the peace sign artwork, all exterior copper piping and back-flow regulators that supply water to the meeting hall and nursery were stolen, the church said.
Then, on Oct. 30 and 31, one person came back to the church and “damaged and stole” outdoor security cameras and flood lights.
A church representative told KTLA that “we do not know if the crimes were related,” but their impact is straining the church.
“We are replacing the cameras and repairing the sign for it to be rehung. The emergency pipe repair cost the church $3900 which we did not have in the budget,” said the spokesperson identified only as Emily. “We have since heard from many neighbors that our PEACE sign was a joy to them and gave hope to the neighborhood.”
Anyone with information is asked to call the church at 818-346-0820 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.