Parishoners say a courtyard designed for quiet reflection and respite in the middle of St. Patrick’s Church in Muldoon has been trampled by vandals multiple times in the past two weeks.
Deacon Felix Maguire believes this sacred ground, also called the “Cloister,” has been vandalized on three different occasions since May 31.
Maguire says they've climbed up to the roof and destroyed shingles, tossing them onto Muldoon Road. The vandals also defaced a mausoleum, destroying the marble niches that hold ashes of the deceased; however, according to parishoners, no human remains were disturbed.
"The last time they came back was on Tuesday when they wrote ‘666’ across one of the Columbarium niches," Maguire said.
Although it's not immediately visible, vandals caused $5,000 in damages to marble benches in the Cloister by skateboarding over them. The total price tag for the damages is estimated to be around $10,000.
Don Arnold’s sister is a member of the church. He volunteered to camp out in the parking lot to keep watch over the church last week. It didn’t take long before he had his first encounter with the suspects.
"I said, ‘Hey, come here guys, I need to talk to you for a minute,’” Arnold said. “One was across the street, the other stopped and looked at me and then took off."
Arnold said the suspected vandals scattered before the police arrived. Arnold believes surveillance tape shows the vandals to be teens all wearing hoodies.
"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 investigators say they’ve received several calls from parishioners about this case, but so far no suspects have been arrested.
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