Hillsboro rallies around vandalized church - KPTV - FOX 12

Hillsboro rallies around vandalized church

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HILLSBORO, OR (KPTV) -

Hillsboro Police are looking for suspects that broke into City Gate Church Friday and ransacked the facility, stealing guitars and sound equipment, and causing thousands of dollars in damage.

“It looks like they sprayed fire extinguisher over everything and then flipped over tables and all of the Easter stuff that we had set up in,” said Pastor Kristina Lackie Sunday. “They had some type of pole and punched it through the TV, and actually pulled the light from the ceiling.”

The time could not have been worse, either. Church leaders found the damage just a few hours before the scheduled Easter egg hunt Saturday. The vandals destroyed the Easter baskets, decorations and treats.

"I was really upset because it’s all the hard work of our team did here, and more than the stuff stolen--it was the kids that were sad because all their Easter baskets and Easter eggs,” Lackie said. “It was heartbreaking.”

Then the remarkable happened: the community rallied together.

“Neighbors giving Easter baskets and candy and donating instruments and different things,” church member Heidi Ruby said. “It was just overwhelming.”

The church ended up with more goodies than it started with, as nearby businesses also pitched in.

“It (made) me feel great and happy because they still put it all together even though it got trashed,” said 9-year-old Kamryn Carmean, who ended up scoring a giant Easter basket after she found a special stickered egg in the hunt.

Police said they are not investigating the case as a hate crime, but Lackie said it’s the third event of vandalism or theft in just a couple weeks.

“Someone came in and wrote hateful messages -- swastikas written on our whiteboards,” Lackie said.

Still at Sunday church service, the only message was love, even if it’s hard for church-goers to imagine who would do such a thing.

“I’m also wondering why they did it,” Carmean said. “Why would you do that? It’s just rude to do.”

Hillsboro police are looking for tips that could lead to an arrest. If you know anything about this case you can contact them at 503-681-6190.

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