Police are searching for a man who burglarized and vandalized Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Gales Ferry, Conn., early March 11.
The Ledyard Police Department reported that the man broke into the church, smashing windows and attempting to break into rooms using a crowbar. The police reported that the man further vandalized the church by painting “hateful” messages on the floor of the church meeting hall with black paint and more “hateful speech” on a wall that displayed a large crucifix.
Based on security camera footage from inside the church, police allege the man entered the building at about 1 a.m. March 11 and stayed in the building for about two and a half hours. The police believe the man first tried to enter the building by throwing bricks at the front door but was unsuccessful. The police believe the man then walked around the outside of the building and broke windows with bricks, rocks, and religious items before breaking into a window on the north side of the building and entering the church.
Officers were dispatched to the scene at 7:35 on Saturday morning after the church reported the vandalism. The police department obtained images of the man through security camera video. The department has notified the FBI Civil Rights Unit, the Connecticut State Police Hate Crimes Unit, and the New London Judicial District Attorney’s Office, all of which are assisting the police with the investigation.
The police describe the suspect as a male in his mid- to late-20s with dark thinning hair and a distinctive beard with no mustache. The police said the man appeared to be wearing jeans, dark work boots, and a dark-colored winter jacket and was carrying a light-colored military-style backpack.
While police were on scene at Our Lady of Lourdes, at about 7:40 a.m. Ledyard Police Emergency Communications Center received a report that Seabury Anglican Church had a broken window next to the entrance of its church. The police do not believe that the Anglican church had been entered or subjected to any further damage. They suspect the same individual was involved in both incidents.