FULTON, Mo. (KMIZ)
The Callaway County Sheriff's Office is trying to find the people who damaged walls, pews, doors, windows and other items at a historic church near Holts Summit.
The sheriff's office said on Facebook that deputies were sent to Mount Vernon Missionary Baptist Church early Wednesday. Two buildings on the property -- the old church and the new church -- were hit by vandals, according to the post.
"Frankly, the bad acts committed on this property during the early morning hours of November 25, 2020 are despicable and quite offensive," the sheriff's office said in the post.
Sheriff Clay Chism told ABC 17 News on Thursday that the church has been a target for vandals in the past, "but nothing of this magnitude."
The post contained photos showing some of the damage, including busted pews and doors and large holes in a wall.
Church Pastor Gordon Coleman wrote on the church's Facebook page that the church was founded by slaves in the early 1800s and has a predominantly Black congregation. The vandalism in the new church building was not as severe as that in the old building, Coleman wrote.
Coleman, who has worked at the church for 30 years, said the church is vandalized every year.
He said they are working on adding a security system to the churches in order to keep this from happening again.
"It has been vandalized time and time again, and so we have to make the concessions to prevent it with the security system we plan to put in place," he said.
Coleman said this will cost $15,000 to $20,000 to repair.
"We have vowed to do all that we can to bring it back to where it can be utilized as a historical monument once again," Coleman said.