Toms River, NJ church hit by strange vandalism over 2-day period
TOMS RIVER — Saint Barbara's Greek Orthodox Church and police are looking for whoever did thousands of dollars worth of damage to the building on two occasions during the weekend.
Father Paul Pappas posted pictures on his Facebook page showing vandalism to the church on Old Freehold Road, including damage to the sign in front of the building, concrete missing from the front steps and a broken railing and windows.
"I noticed it Sunday morning that our sign in front of the church was ripped up and torn up with some letters broken off. Then when I went to church on Monday morning I found a window broken. A very large brick was thrown through the window inside the church, actually, and a lot of damage to our exterior stairs," Pappas told New Jersey 101.5.
Pappas estimated the damage at $15,000 although a contractor and insurance agent have yet to make an assessment.
It's not the church's first vandalism incident as someone spray-painted graffiti on a light post in the parking lot and a trash can, according to Pappas.
"This is kind of strange because it happened over two separate nights," Pappas said.
The vandals also had to put a lot of effort into creating some of the damage, according to Pappas, who speculated that sledgehammers were used to break the concrete stairs and railing.
Nothing that was damaged was of a historical or sentimental nature, according to Pappas.
"Two windows down from the one they smashed up is a stained glass window. Those are various scenes from the Bible and various saints from our church. They chose the windows not to break. If they had broken the stained glass windows that would have been an issue," he said.
The church has surveillance video on its property but cameras are not pointed at any views of the areas of the vandalism.
Pappas said Toms River police are investigating the vandalism.
Toms River police on Tuesday morning did not respond to New Jersey 101.5's request for more information.