8 juveniles arrested for church vandalism

A piano was pushed off a stage when vandals broke into a Northeast Austin church. (Erin Cargile/KXAN)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin police say they have arrested eight juveniles in connection with the vandalism at St. John’s Regular Baptist Association Tabernacle. Last week, church leaders found their sanctuary on Blessing Avenue trashed, tagged and set on fire. The damage done to the building was extensive: windows were broken, profanity was sprayed on the walls and musical equipment was damaged.

The initial vandalism happened on Sept. 22, but the vandals came back three days later and caused more damage. Church members have spent the last few days cleaning up the mess the vandals left behind.


Several windows were broken and walls were spray-painted. (Erin Cargile/KXAN)
Several windows were broken and walls were spray-painted. (Erin Cargile/KXAN)

Police say a fingerprint on a candy wrapper left behind at the church led them to the first 14-year-old suspect. They were then able to identify the other 7 teens. All of the suspects face felony charges.

“The little punks that decided to smoke dope and act a fool out here, as far as what they are, hopefully this will be a wake up call that the juvenile justice system will take these kids and redirect them,” Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said.


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