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Crime against church causes parish concern

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For the fourth time in a year, the Bonney Lake Baptist Church was the site of a crime.

The church at 6212 Myers Rd. was burglarized Sept. 1 and on Sept. 2 an upside down cross was painted on the front of the building.

According to Herbert Mull, a deacon at the church, there was a garage sale at the church Friday and the burglary incident happened during the night.

“We are not positive how the church was broken into,” Mull said. “They may have been hiding inside the church while the sale was going on.”

During the night a door to the main office was kicked in, along with the door to the pastor's office. The offices were ransacked and a safe was stolen.

“No one had the combination to the safe, so we don't know what was in it,” Mull said. “Whoever did it may have been looking for money from the garage sale.”

According to Mull, a Pierce County Sheriff's deputy responded to the scene and investigated the crime.

The next night an upside down cross was painted on the front of the building. Dave Hawkins, also a deacon at the church, discovered the cross the morning of Sept. 3.

“It was a Satan's cross with a hook on it,” Hawkins said. “The graffiti scares me more than the break-in.”

Mull said this was the first time the church had been vandalized.

“We don't know what to make of it,” Mull said. “But it was real obvious. It's a satanic sign. We hope we are not a target.”

A tool shed at the church had been broken into twice in the past year. The first time a lawn mower and some yard tenance equipment were taken.

Hawkins said after the items were replaced, the shed was broken into and equipment was stolen again.

Art Sphar, chaplain for the Bonney Lake and Sumner police departments, said he was not aware of any other churches in the area having similar problems.

Mull said deputies gathered shoe impressions and fingerprints from the scene.

The Pierce County Sheriff's Department has not identified any suspects.

Hawkins said the church has been part of the Bonney Lake community for the past 20 years.

The pastor of the church, J. Scott Clark, released the following statement after the incidents.

“We at the Bonney Lake Baptist Church hold no bitterness or anger against those who broke into our church and vandalized the building. Our hope is they will realize what they did was wrong and will change their ways. We would welcome them to come and worship the lord with us.”

Dennis Box can be reached at dbox@courierherald.com.

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