EASTVIEW, Ky. (AP) — Congregants entered two Kentucky churches Sunday morning to find their houses of God in disarray, with items missing or destroyed.
Bibles, church records and numerous sacred items like crosses were stolen from the Needham Cumberland Presbyterian Church and the Smith Chapel United Methodist Church in Eastview.
Parishioners found a wrench in the pulpit of the 150-year-old Methodist church. It appeared to have been used to damage a wide array of items, including a piano, paintings, stained glass windows and more. Several holes had been beaten into a wall.
“They did major damage,” Pastor David Stephens said. “They just swung at everything.”
An antique quilt featuring the names of church members also was stolen, along with an American flag and other items.
The 160-year-old Presbyterian church suffered a similar fate, with a smashed nativity scene, destroyed bathroom sinks, shredded records of former members and a burned shed containing extra decor.
“We just cried to see that,” said Connie Toczko-Adkins, whose father, the Rev. Shelby Haire, leads the church. She said her father, who currently has cancer, has led the church for 40 years and hasn’t been able to preach for several months. Her parents met 63 years ago at the church, which her mother started attending when she was 6 years old.
Neither church has surveillance cameras. State police are investigating and no arrests had been made in either case as of Wednesday. Both congregations have since cleaned up their sanctuaries.