Union County church vandalized; swastikas spray painted, Bibles torn

jennifer.arnold@shj.comJuly 31, 2013 

This photo from the Union County Sheriff's Office shows vandalism inside Buffalo United Methodist Church on Hill Street.

UNION COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE VIA SPARTANBURG HERALD JOURNAL

— The Union County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the vandalism of a church in Buffalo.

Sheriff David Taylor said someone broke into Buffalo United Methodist Church on Hill Street overnight and spray painted swastikas, upside down crosses, pentagrams and Satanic messages around the church, splattered red paint on statues, tore pages out of Bibles and turned crosses upside down. Damage was found in the sanctuary and Sunday school rooms.

Some of the graffiti was misspelled, with the suspects spray painting “Chist” instead of “Christ” in one instance.

“Made a royal mess,” said Taylor, who was at the church with investigators Tuesday afternoon.

A forensics unit from the State Law Enforcement Division responded to process the scene due to the large amount of damage, according to the sheriff’s office.

The incident comes less than a week after two Union County residents claiming ties with a white supremacy group were arrested in connection with the deaths of two people in Jonesville.

“The investigators are trying to figure out if this is some kind of copycat, or if there’s a connection,” Taylor said.

The Rev. Ron Towery, pastor of the church, noted the damage after arriving at the church and going into the sanctuary for prayer about 10 a.m. Tuesday. He said New Hope Baptist Church opened its doors to his congregation so vacation Bible school could go on uninterrupted. Other area churches also offered to assist the congregation.

Towery has been a minister for 13 years but only came to Buffalo last month.

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