Albany church vandalism

(KPTV image)

ALBANY, OR (KPTV) - An Albany church is out hundreds of thousands of dollars after it was hit by vandals over the weekend.

But it’s not just the damage that has the community shaken.

Hope Church was ransacked on the same day as the synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh.

Custodian Marty Olson discovered the mess Saturday night: a torn Bible strewn across the floor, water streaming through the doors, smashed TVs, a toilet ripped from the wall, and shattered glass.

“My first thought wasn’t to call 911. My first thought was, ‘I'm not going to be able to clean this up for Sunday,’” Olson said.

The timing wasn’t just inconvenient; it was startling.

“It happened the same day as the horrible shooting at the synagogue in Pennsylvania, and so I think definitely for our custodian and the first pastor on site here, those things were definitely rolling through our minds,” Executive Director Jennifer Tress said.

Church officials believe this vandalism was fueled by hate.

They gave their surveillance video to police. Tress said it shows two people with what look like baseball bats.

She said the damage adds up to about $200,000.

“I mean, it could've been so much worse, especially here in the sanctuary. They could've easily shut us down for a long time, but they didn't,” Tress said.

The church still held a service the next day, and Tress said if anything, this just makes their community even stronger.

Copyright 2018 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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