Vandals damage courtyard at Anchorage church

ANCHORAGE — Vandals have caused more than $10,000 damage to an Anchorage church, officials said.

The vandalism has occurred three times over the last two weeks at the Cloister, or the courtyard at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in east Anchorage, KTUU reported.

Deacon Felix Maguire says the vandals have climbed the roof, ripped off shingles and thrown them on busy Muldoon Road.

A mausoleum also has been defaced, and marble niches that hold ashes have been destroyed. Officials say no human remains have been disturbed.

“The last time they came back was on Tuesday when they wrote ‘666’ across one of the Columbarium niches,” Maguire said.

Marble benches also have been damaged when someone rode a skateboard over them.

The vandalism to the benches was estimated at $5,000 alone.

Don Arnold volunteered last week to camp out in the parking lot to watch over the church at night. He met up with the suspected vandals on one of the first nights there.

“I said, ‘Hey, come here guys, I need to talk to you for a minute,’” he said. “One was across the street, the other stopped and looked at me and then took off.”

They had left by the time police arrived, but said surveillance tapes indicate the vandals are teenagers wearing hooded sweat shirts.

“They probably think they’re having fun, but they are desecrating a cemetery,” Maguire said. “The other thing is the video we took at them in particular was taken around midnight, you wonder what a 12- and a 13-year-old is doing here at midnight.”

Anchorage police are investigating.

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