UPDATE, 9/14: Overland Park police said they have identified the individuals involved in the property destruction investigation. The individuals are juveniles.
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Overland Park Police are investigating a series of vandalism and property destruction at Christ Lutheran Church near 117th and Nieman Road.
Church leaders tell 41 Action News the vandals have targeted the church five times since August. Each time, the damage has gotten worse.
“Why would you do that to a church? Why would you do that to any building? Why would you damage property? There’s really no reason for it,” said Jeff Kunze, the church’s senior pastor.
The first time vandals targeted the church in August. According to Kunze, they took apart and knocked over the benches from the church’s prayer garden.
The second and third time they targeted the church, the vandals took the bricks from the prayer garden and threw them against the church’s wall. Consequently, the new stucco was dented and ruined.
Church leaders estimate it will cost more than $3,000 to fix.
“I don’t think they realize the extent of the damage and really what that’s going to cost,” said Kunze. “They’re probably good kids making bad decisions.”
To prevent the vandalism from happening again, the church installed a hidden security camera. Still, the vandals came back a fourth and fifth time.
Early Sunday morning, cameras captured two teenagers climbing on top of church’s roof and jumping into the internal courtyard. According to Kunze, they threw the patio furniture into the courtyard fountain and ripped umbrellas from the tables. They fled the church before police arrived.
Now, Kunze wants the public’s help identifying the teens.
“Maybe this is a strange way in which God says, 'Yeah, you get to make a difference in their life' but first we need to know who they are. They need to stop what they are doing, they need to own up for what they did and let’s work from there,” he said.
Christ Lutheran Church is the same church that opened their doors to those displaced by a large fire at an Overland Park apartment building in March.
Anyone with information or who can identify the teenagers are asked to call the Overland Park Police Department.