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SANDY — Police are searching for vandals who hit a number of buildings that belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Most of the vandalism happened between Monday night and Tuesday morning along the east side of Sandy. The vandals spray-painted messages on the outside of six buildings.
"No break-ins. Doesn't even appear that there were any attempted break-ins," Sandy Police Sgt. Greg Moffit said.
The messages apparently referenced a recent Associated Press story regarding the handling of two sexual abuse cases.
"We believe that it's probably the same person or persons because there was repeated phrases or repeated wording," said Moffit. "In this case, it appears to be that someone has some feelings toward the church. Perhaps maybe some of the policies and the things that were, the damage that was done, was all spray paint."
Moffit said the vandals struck during the same overnight time frame.
Police also responded to a separate incident at an Orem chapel on Friday at 600 N. 150 East.
Imi Hia attends the Orem church. "I think it's so disrespectful and it's sad," she said.
Members of a Samoan congregation who were setting up for an activity found broken pews and trashed hymnals inside.
"Where I'm from in Tahiti, people would never do that. Even if they are not members of the church, they would have too much respect to do that to someone," Hia said.
A statement from the church reads, "We are saddened by the vandalism which has occurred to various church meetinghouses in the Salt Lake Valley. Our church buildings are places of worship and community gathering where all are welcome. We are working with local police as they conduct their investigation into who is responsible."
Sandy police are increasing patrols around church-owned buildings. They're also asking people near those churches to check their surveillance cameras.
The vandalized churches in Sandy are located at:
- 2080 E. Pinecrest Lane
- 2130 E. 10000 South
- 8735 S. Harvard Park Drive
- 10975 S. Prescott Drive
- 1478 E. 8600 South
- 275 E. 10600 South