UPDATE (8/8): The Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office has made two arrests in the repeated vandalism of St. Rita Catholic Church.
They say both are 17-years-old, and because both are juvenile males, their names are not being released.
“These two gentleman come walking up to our parish nonchalantly but carrying what we believe are rocks, and they have their faces painted interestingly,” said St. Rita Catholic Church Business Manager Michael McGarry, as he looked at the church’s surveillance video from July 9th.
Two suspects can be seen late at night walking on church grounds. Moments later after the two went into the 24 hour chapel, the video shows them throwing stones at windows on both the lower and upper levels of the church.
“It’s really for nothing,” said McGarry. He says those windows have been fixed, but the vandals struck again this past Sunday. “We figure we are probably over three thousand dollars right now and it’s going to go up with the second group of windows that they busted,” he added.
It’s more than just windows, vandals also stole their American flag just before the Fourth of July. They also flipped a cross upside down and stuck it in the prayer garden.”It’s an open campus, it’s a beautiful campus we’re very proud of it,” said McGarry. “We are upset that all of the sudden things are changing for the negative,” he added.
McGarry says Sheriffs Deputies believe the suspects are responsible for at least two of the incidents.
He says many people in the area have reached out to help but also urges those who might have information to say something.
“I mean if you know them you would recognize them in the video,” he said. “Let’s stop it before anything else happens, before it gets worse,” he added.