Praying for closure on vandals

Parishioners of the seven area churches burglarized and vandalized between October and December 2017 no doubt experienced deepening concern as each month passed without arrests.

That concern was justified, considering the commonly held belief that the longer a case remains unsolved, the less likely it will be solved.

That theory reigns for murder cases as well as for lesser crimes.

Some parishioners of the churches in question probably began ascribing to the opinion that police had crimes much more serious to investigate, and that the crimes at the churches might fall through the proverbial cracks in the investigatory processes.

Fortunately, those parishioners — and any other people who might have been aligning with the same opinion — were wrong. Despite passage of approximately a year, two adults and a juvenile now are facing court action in regard to the incidents.

Although the suspects must be presumed innocent until proven guilty, it seem that, by the number of charges that have been filed, the police have accumulated an abundance of evidence against the trio to justify those criminal counts.

Thus, parishioners and the general public should be feeling some sense of relief that closure in the cases might be in sight.

The two adults are facing more than 40 charges each, including 20 felonies.

Police are deserving of praise for their ongoing efforts aimed at solving the crimes, which took place at Sinking Valley Presbyterian Church, Tyrone Township; Faith Assembly of God Church, Roaring Spring; Williamsburg Independent Baptist Church, Williamsburg; St. Matthew Lutheran Church, Martinsburg; Grace Point Community Church, Williamsburg; Hope United Methodist Church, Alexandria; and Spruce Creek United Methodist Church, Spruce Creek.

Police also allege that the trio was responsible for a burglary at the restaurant at Sinking Valley Country Club. According to police, the two adults also face charges in other cases in Huntiingdon County — the county in which all of the church-related charges and the restaurant charges will be prosecuted.

Throughout the investigation, many people, troubled over the crimes, had remained consumed by the belief that leniency would not be in order, if the burglars were apprehended.

Even after having been exposed to religious teachings about the greatness of forgiveness, it’s safe to assume that many of those people believe that justice for their churches and their religious communities must come first.

However, many members of the victimized church communities no doubt will offer prayers carrying the intention that the three who have been arrested will effect positive changes in their lives.

For most people, it’s hard to fathom how anyone could have the misguided “courage” to target criminal acts at a church, but that’s what occurred during the last three months of 2017. Doors and windows of the houses of worship were damaged or broken during the thieves’ search for cash.

It hasn’t been a good year for the seven church congregations, all of whom were left fearing whether another assault on their house of prayer might be forthcoming.

Hopefully, putting away those fears will be possible soon.

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