Police looking for suspects in Henry Co. church vandalism - WSMV Channel 4

Police looking for suspects in Henry Co. church vandalism

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(Photo from the Paris Post-Intelligencer) (Photo from the Paris Post-Intelligencer)
(Photo from the Paris Post-Intelligencer) (Photo from the Paris Post-Intelligencer)
PARIS, TN (WSMV) -

A congregation and community are heartsick and looking for answers. They're cleaning up after vandals broke in and ransacked a Henry County church and even stole money meant for the hungry.

The Bethesda United Methodist Church has been around since the late 1800s, and parishioners were shocked with what they found Wednesday night.

Furniture and crosses were tossed around and the donation jar was emptied.

The Rev. Harold Stricker said he was heartbroken.

"They had taken our pulpit and threw it out there, tore the cross off of the wall," Stricker said. "Our world hunger offering was here for them to take. We don't know how much that was - $50, $60, not much - but they didn't rob the church, they robbed the poor."

Henry County Sheriff Monte Belew is not having it.

"Who would vandalize a church and do such a horrific act as that? A place of worship! So we're taking it very seriously," he said.

Authorities are offering a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the culprits who did this.

In the meantime, the community has come together with money and help to fix all the damage done. And in all that goodwill, Stricker has a message for those responsible.

"God loves you. He wants you to know him. Maybe this message will get out them. We just pray that it will," he said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Henry County Sheriff's Department.

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