Police make arrests in Spotsylvania church vandalism | Crime News


Four people, including at least one adult, were identified as suspects in a destructive frenzy at a church in Spotsylvania earlier this month in which police estimated $300,000 in damage was caused.

The vandalism was discovered early August 7 at the Craigs Baptist Church Community Life Center in the 14000 block of West Catharpin Road. The 12,000 square foot building had damage in every room, including shattered sheetrock, broken glass, damaged furniture and fire extinguishers that had been triggered. The intruders also threw food and paint at the walls and furniture.

Brandon Joseph Walker, 21, was jailed Friday on charges of arson, burglary, trespassing and three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Two minors were also arrested in the vandalism, police said. Authorities were still looking for another suspect who would have turned 18 since the incident.

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In an affidavit for a search warrant filed with Spotsylvania Circuit Court, Detective Tony Horn wrote that the living center was entered through a sliding glass door off the road.

Once inside, the intruders drilled holes and smeared paint on the walls, turned appliances upside down, ripped doors off their hinges and opened food containers before throwing food all over the establishment. said the police.

At least two fire extinguishers were emptied, causing damage to the ventilation system, as well as cosmetic damage.

Detectives recovered DNA samples, latent prints and shoe prints, along with other evidence, Horn wrote. Police then received information on social media that led them to the four suspects.

One of the suspects eventually came forward and made a full confession, the affidavit states.

The Tall Oaks Drive home of one of the suspects, a 15-year-old boy, was searched under the authority of one of the search warrants.

John Swain, senior pastor of Craigs Baptist, said on Friday he was unaware of any arrests being made. He had previously said that neither he nor other church officials knew why anyone would have targeted the church.

Swain said the church is still working with its insurance company to repair damage to the 12-year-old facility. He said church members have yet to return to the building, largely due to potential respiratory issues resulting from chemicals that were released during the vandalism.

Instead, services were moved to the older, smaller church building across the street. The church, which is less than two miles from the Orange County line, has been in the community for more than 250 years.

Jerry B. Hatch