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Vandalized Miami church forgives those who trespass, literally

Vandals eat, write vulgar messages, spray fire extinguisher along path of destruction

MIAMI – A trail of destruction left a Miami Catholic church with thousands of dollars in damages as teenagers wreaked havoc across rooms during an early morning break-in.

Fatimo Garcia, of Corpus Christi Catholic Church, reviewed surveillance video that appeared to capture three teens creeping into a church building through a backdoor around 2:30 a.m. Monday.

The trio of vandals entered a dining room in the church and proceeded to overturn tables and apparently burn a package of disposable Styrofoam containers, a video showed.

The three then scribbled profanities and vulgar images onto the room windows and refrigerator, Garcia said.

As the three moved into the kitchen, they redrew the same vulgarities and immature visual expressions in white residue along a metal prep station table. Garcia thinks the trio discharged a fire extinguisher to blanket the table and floor in white flame retardant powder.

Footprints were also visible, scattered in white patterns across the floor.

Three teens were caught on surveillance cameras moving between rooms in a path of destruction at a Miami church, amassing thousands of dollars in damages.
Three teens were caught on surveillance cameras moving between rooms in a path of destruction at a Miami church, amassing thousands of dollars in damages.

“This is a house of worship where we are supposed to bring love and no hatred," Garcia said. “We don’t understand why they would do a thing like that here.”

In the midst of the thrashing, Garcia said, it also appeared the young men paused to take a break and eat. A discarded apple remained on the floor and candy was left on a table, even as Miami Police Department investigators arrived to collect evidence later Monday morning.

Garcia said nothing was stolen, though the total damage is estimated to be about $3,000.

“The only thing we can do is forgive them,” Garcia said.

Unfazed by the vandalism, voices loud and full of joy, church parishioners gathered Monday night in celebration of the feast day of the immaculate conception.

Anyone with information about the teens is encouraged to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.


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