CHESTERFIELD, Va. — Police in Virginia are looking for a man who vandalized a Chesterfield church last Tuesday night while wearing a hat that reportedly read “I [Heart] Jesus.”
Surveillance footage shows the man entering Ironbridge Church just after 11:30 p.m. on Election Day after the location had been closed for polling, and upon finding a basket of Bibles, tearing pages out of them as he walked along.
The man also broke an interior window to one of the church offices, spray-painted the walls, and left a trail of blood from the broken glass on his way back out the unlocked door.
“This incident does not appear to be random,” the Chesterfield County Police Department said in a social media post on Wednesday.
It outlined that the suspect, who appears to be in his late 20’s or early 30’s, has dark hair and a beard, and “was wearing a black jacket, light-colored jeans, dark-colored shoes and a black hat that appeared to say “I [Heart] Jesus.'”
“Apparently, our electronic system did not work properly to relock one of the doors that was unlocked for the polling,” Dennis Green, who leads Ironbridge Church, told local television station WTVR.
“He came through just throwing pages, ripping them and throwing them out,” he said. “[He] took something out of his pocket and broke a window.”
Nearby Chester Presbyterian Church was recently vandalized four times within an eight-day period, the outlet reported. A door had been smashed, lamps broken, and a flag belonging to the Boy Scouts was lit on fire. It is not yet known whether the two situations are connected.
“This is my church. I am so sad, but more sad that someone is hurting so much they resort to trashing a building,” one woman named Shirley posted to the Chesterfield County Facebook status. “Please pray they get the help they need.”
The late preacher and author A.W. Pink once said, “Why does the sinner choose a life of sinful indulgence? Because he prefers it. Man chooses that which is according to his nature, and therefore, before he will ever choose or prefer that which is divine or spiritual, a new nature must be imparted to him. In other words, he must be born again.”
Galatians 5:19-23 also teaches, “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like; of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance; against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.”