NewsPinellas County


Cameras catch vandals spray-painting graffiti on St. Pete churches

Police say vandals targeted several locations
Posted at 10:37 PM, Feb 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-10 23:46:56-05

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Detectives are looking for two graffiti artists who spray-painted local churches in St. Pete.

The vandals were caught on camera defacing a building.

One incident happened at First United Methodist Church of St. Petersburg on 3rd Street North.

Senior Pastor Craig Nelson called their behavior "destructive." The vandals wrote the word "Jesus Christ" on a church door.

"It's kind of like someone stealing a Bible. Why would you steal a Bible? They chose to write that and it's odd," said Nelson.

"Which as a Christian church, it's hard to get mad at that," he added. "If they had put the name Jesus Christ on a synagogue that would have been offensive, hurtful."

Officers also believe the same people targeted several other locations.

Graffiti was found a couple blocks away at Westminster Presbyterian Church. They spray-painted the word "dread."

On January 26 or 27, detectives said the vandals also spray-painted several parking spots in the Southcore Parking Garage.

"You're diminishing our community. You may be having fun or whatever, but you are damaging who we are as a community. We are part of this community and we care. We want the best for it," said Pastor Nelson.

If you have any information, please call the St. Petersburg Police Department's non-emergency line at 727-893-7780. You can also text the keyword "SPPD" and your anonymous tip to 847-411 (Tip-411). Refer to police report #2020-001849.