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Cape Coral church begins cleaning up after vandals strike

A Cape Coral church is cleaning up after vandals caused tens of thousands of dollars in damages. The pastor says they have their work cut out for them.

With an outpouring of support, volunteers this week painted the children’s room and changed the carpet.

The pastor of Gulf Coast Baptist Church on SE 24th Avenue is confident there will be arrests after he met with detectives.

“I think we need to get to the bottom of not just why they did it, who knows why they did it. More importantly, how do they feel about it what they did?” said Tom Sexton.

The damage from the Oct. 18 incident included vulgar messages, some of which were left in the children’s wing. The vandals spraypainted sacrilegious images and pictures all over walls, chairs and photographs.

The damage was so horrifying that Sexon still can’t comprehend it.

“We had glass broken all through the building, in the carpet, and had to take all that out and all the furniture that was destroyed, plus the computers and all.”

Three days later, some signs of progress are visible, but the cleanup will take weeks.

“The carpet has been taken up as of today, a lot of the stuff has been scrubbed off of the wall, and some of it’s been painted over,” said Sara McCormick, a church member.

“The estimate we have so far is somewhere between 20 and $25,000 for the damage done,” Sexton said.

Cape Coral police released surveillance video of three people breaking into vehicles that same night. The trio is believed to be responsible for the mess at Gulf Coast Baptist Church.

Sexton said people are sending tips and leads to police.

“They actually filmed themselves doing it on social media for people to see and want people to know what they did,” he said.

Anyone with information on the identity of the suspects is asked to contact the Cape Coral Police Department by calling 239-574-3223, submitting an anonymous tip at www.capecops.com/tipshttps://new.tipsubmit.com/en/create-report/anonymous, sending a message through CCPD’s social media platforms or by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS. Use the Case Report # 20-19390.

The church is accepting donations on its website to help with the costs.

Reporter:Brea Hollingsworth
Writer:Jackie Winchester
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