Swastikas spray-painted on Stockton Springs Community Church

Police seeking help from public
By Ben Holbrook | Nov 06, 2012
Courtesy of: Pastor Steve DeGroft Waldo County Sheriff Deputy Ben Seekins discovered a series of swastikas spray-painted on the Stockton Springs Community Church Tuesday, Nov. 6.

Stockton Springs — The Waldo County Sheriff’s Office is continuing to investigate a vandalism incident at the Stockton Springs Community Church after a deputy noticed swastikas spray-painted on the church's front doors and two signs Tuesday, Nov. 6.

Chief Deputy Jeff Trafton of the WCSO said Deputy Ben Seekins drove past the church and noticed the blue swastikas spray-painted on the signs and building at about 7:45 a.m., Tuesday, Nov. 6, Seekins called Waldo County Dispatch to open a complaint, but no further information was available.

During a telephone interview Wednesday, Nov. 14, Trafton said Seekins returned to the church where he discovered two iced tea cans on the ground. Because the cans were wet, a viable DNA sample was unable to be recovered.

Seekins then went to a local convenience store to ask if any of the employees remembered selling the iced tea. The store clerk who was working before the vandalism occurred told Seekins she remembered selling the items, but was unable to recall to whom she sold them, Trafton said.

Pastor Steve DeGroft said during an interview on Nov. 6, the vandalism incident was the first of its kind for the church. He said he believed the incident might have been due to the church’s stance opposing gay marriage. However, he noted the “No on 1” political signs on the property were not vandalized.

“To have swastikas spray-painted on the church is very unfortunate,” DeGroft said. “We haven’t had any issues with vandalism in the past.”

DeGroft said the church’s insurance company would be contacted to file a claim regarding the damage done by the vandalism. He said the swastikas would be painted over at some point over the weekend.

“We’re a loving congregation. We’re going to be praying for the people who vandalized the church,” DeGroft said.

Anyone with information regarding the vandalism at the church is encouraged to call the WCSO at 338-6786.

Republican Journal reporter Ben Holbrook can be reached at 338-3333 or at bholbrook@courierpublicationsllc.com.

Comments (1)
Posted by: Jeff Davis | Nov 07, 2012 09:06

Pastor DeGroft, I am so sorry that you had to witness this in your first weeks on the job. We have to do something about that ramp. If you could talk Mr. Couch into building a guard shack, I would be willing to take a shift or two. Welcome to Stockton Springs, we are glad you are here.

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