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Vandals hit church; police offer reward

Graffiti spree also includes 2 homes, car

By LEE VAN DER VOO

Staff Reporter

Lake Oswego Police are offering a reward for information about a graffiti spree that left anti-religious messages at a church preschool and also damaged two houses and a car.

Vandals scrawled anti-Semitic, racist and anti-religious messages on the Bethlehem Church, 17979 Stafford Road, and also on two homes under construction and a car in the Stafford Road area. Other unsavory remarks were also left in the locations between 2 p.m. July 4 and 9 a.m. the following day.

'We believe this is all related and we are offering a $500 reward for information that leads us to the perpetrator,' said Don Forman, captain of the Lake Oswego Police.

Shane Crawford, pastor at the Bethlehem Church, said the graffiti was mostly spray-painted on a preschool at the church, where toddler and pre-Kindergarten students attend classes on weekdays.

'What was unfortunate was there was a mural defaced and it was just redone by the artist. It hadn't been done a week,' Crawford said.

He said the mural and several doors and walls have since been repaired. A break between summer preschool sessions prevented children and other churchgoers from exposure to the graffiti.

Crawford chalked the incident up to 'goofy teens without something to do,' but said he was pleased to hear police were looking into the vandalism. Damage at the church was estimated at $2,000.

Damage to the car was estimated at $1,500. Racist messages and other profanity covered all four quarter-panels and the hood of the vehicle, an older Dodge parked on Atherton Drive.

Two houses under construction on Meadowlark Lane were also vandalized. Ron Abney of Abney Revard Construction said vandals covered two floors of both three-level homes there with profanities that included racist, anti-religious and anti-Semitic remarks.

'Someone spent a fair amount of time there,' Abney said. 'As a builder you just hate to see that kind of vandalism.'

He said two levels of walls, windows and window screens were damaged and landscaping equipment stored on the properties was also broken. Abney said exterior walls of the homes have already been painted. He estimated the cost of the repairs and equipment replacement at $3,500.