Several churches vandalized in Sandy and Orem

Aug 17, 2022, 6:39 PM | Updated: Aug 18, 2022, 6:09 am

SANDY, Utah — Police are searching for vandals who hit a number of buildings that belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Most of the attacks happened over the same night along the east side of Sandy.

The vandals spray-painted messages on the outside of six buildings.

“No break-ins. Doesn’t even appear that there were any attempted break-ins,” Sgt. Greg Moffit with the Sandy Police Department said.

The messages apparently referenced a recent Associated Press story regarding the handling of two sexual abuse cases.

“We believe that it’s probably the same person or persons because there was repeated phrases or repeated wording,” said Moffit. “In this case, it appears to be that someone has some feelings toward the Church. Perhaps maybe some of the policies and the things that were, the damage that was done, was all spray paint.”

Moffit said the vandals struck during the same overnight time frame.

Police also responded to a separate incident in Orem.

Imi Hia attends the Orem church. “I think it’s so disrespectful and it’s sad,” she said.

Members of a Samoan congregation who were setting up for an activity found broken pews and trashed hymnals inside.

“Where I’m from in Tahiti, people would never do that. Even if they are not members of the Church, they would have too much respect to do that to someone,” Hia said.

A vandalized church in Sandy. (KSL TV) One of the vandalized churches in Sandy. (Sandy Police Department) Sgt Greg Moffit, Sandy Police Department (KSL TV) Imi Hia attends the vandalized Orem church. (KSL TV) Outside of the Orem church. (KSL TV) Inside the damaged Orem chapel. (Imi Hia) Inside the damaged Orem chapel. (Imi Hia) Inside the damaged Orem chapel. (Imi Hia) Inside the damaged Orem chapel. (Imi Hia)

A statement from the Church reads,

“We are saddened by the vandalism which has occurred to various Church meetinghouses in the Salt Lake Valley. Our Church buildings are places of worship and community gathering where all are welcome.  We are working with local police as they conduct their investigation into who is responsible.”

Sandy police are increasing patrols around church-owned buildings. They’re also asking people near those churches to check their surveillance cameras.

The vandalized churches are:

2080 E. Pinecrest Lane2130 E. 10000 South8735 S. Harvard Park Drive10975 S. Prescott Drive1478 E. 8600 South275 E. 10600 South

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Several churches vandalized in Sandy and Orem