Posted: Apr 8, 2013 4:33 PM by Judy Slate
Updated: Apr 8, 2013 4:36 PM
BOZEMAN - Bozeman police are contacting local churches, telling them to increase security after vandals targeted two churches in the past month.
The Holy Rosary Church in downtown Bozeman was vandalized over the weekend, but the church is moving forward.
Vandals smashed a window to get into the church sometime late Saturday night or early Sunday morning. The walls were spray painted, items were broken and more damage was done.
"We're not going to let something like this...we're certainly not going to let it get us down," Father Leo Proxell said.
"Vandalism almost doesn't do it justice," Lt. Steve Crawford said. "More of a directed threat or harassment towards a group of people, kind of an anti-religious message."
Police say the break-in and damage at Holy Rosary appear to be related to a case that happened at Kirkwood Baptist Church last month.
"The method of entry is similar and some vandalism and graffiti was similar," Crawford said. "There are enough similarities that we believe they are related."
On Monday, police were processing the evidence that was collected at Holy Rosary. They're also asking people to be vigilant.
"Given that we've had, two incidents in the last month, if they see something suspicious call it in," Crawford said.
Meanwhile, Holy Rosary Church is waiting for the go-ahead from the insurance company to begin cleaning up.
"We're shooting for the possibility of being able to stay in the building so that this weekend we can re-open and have masses there," Father Leo said.
Crawford says the person or people responsible for the attacks could face federal hate crime charges, along with felony burglary and criminal mischief charges.