Sherman Police said one adult and two juveniles were arrested on burglary and vandalism charges early Monday morning after they allegedly broke into the Forest Avenue Baptist Church.
Sgt. Brett Mullen said officers responded to the church, located in the 2400 block of Forest Avenue, at approximately 12:40 a.m. after dispatchers received a report of a burglary in progress.
“When officers arrived, they could hear that people were still possibly inside,” Mullen said. “With the use of a canine, the suspects were located in the building and were taken into custody without incident.”
Mullen said a 17-year-old adult was booked into the Grayson County Jail and two juveniles, ages 14 and 15, were taken to the county’s youth detention facility. All were charged with burglary of building between $750 and $30,000 and graffiti.
“The investigation indicated that they did vandalize the church using a fire extinguisher and with various types of graffiti throughout the building,” Mullen said. “There were also small items on them that were stolen from the building.”
Forest Avenue Baptist Church Pastor Brian Taylor said church staff first filed a burglary report with Sherman Police on Saturday after employees arrived in the morning and found two televisions missing from the church and a number of pentagrams and explicit images drawn throughout the building. Taylor said the break-in likely occurred on Thursday night or Friday night.
“It was just a gross, sad thing,” Taylor said. “But we cleaned it all up and Sunday services were not affected.”
Sgt. Mullen said he did not have information Monday to indicate whether the graffiti and the alleged criminal activity constituted a hate crime, but said no hate crime charge had been filed. Mullen said he also could not confirm whether both break-ins were committed by the same adult and juveniles.
Taylor said the individuals who committed the first burglary gained access to the building by breaking a window and because the church was unable to replace the window over the weekend, he feared the same individuals might return. The pastor said he watched the building overnight Saturday and phoned police when he noticed activity inside. Taylor said the three that were caught Sunday morning had damaged chairs and ransacked the church’s kitchen and pantries, spilling drinks and stealing food.
Despite the added damage, Taylor said the church’s Wednesday services would not be affected and nor would the congregation’s faith.
“We still want to be Christ-like to people,” Taylor said. “We want justice, but we also want to love on these boys. We think God can take bad things and make good things out of them. We hope that’s what he’ll do with these young men.”