Four teens suspected of church graffiti
A 19-year-old Gardnerville man was charged with three felonies Wednesday, suspected of defacing six Carson Valley churches with obscenities and references to “666.”
Jonathan M. Walker, 19, of Gardnerville, was charged with three counts of felony destruction of property and one count of graffiti. His bail is pending.
Charges are also pending against three 17-year-old juvenile suspects, a girl and two boys.
Sheriff’s spokesman Tom Mezzetta said the parents of one of the suspects overheard the teen talking about the graffiti and other acts of vandalism that occurred early Tuesday.
“After confronting them, (the parent) brought them into the sheriff’s office,” Mezzetta said.
Officials believe vandals struck early Tuesday, possibly to mark the date, June 6, 2006, referring to the biblical number 666.
Vandals used black spray paint to write profane remarks, the numbers 666, upside-down crosses and references to Satan.
Damage was discovered at Trinity Lutheran Church, St. Gall Catholic Church and Carson Valley United Methodist Church in Gardnerville, Day Springs Christian Assembly on Tillman Lane in the Gardnerville Ranchos and Hilltop Community Church and Shepherd of the Sierra Church in northern Douglas County.
Tires were slashed on the day-care van at Trinity Lutheran.
The Rev. Paul McCollum, pastor of St. Gall, said Wednesday he was relieved at the arrests.
“It’s good to see the people of this community know that you cannot do these kinds of things and get away with it,” McCollum said.
He also said he was grateful for the support that St. Gall and the other vandalized churches had received.
“Everybody was concerned and interested to know how bad the damage was,” he said. “Our damage was pretty minor. A number of parishioners didn’t even see it because we were able to remove it quickly.”
McCollum said he hoped whoever was responsible for the vandalism would get the help they needed “so they won’t feel the need to do these kinds of acts.”
“We’ve maintained an understanding heart and forgiving spirit,” McCollum said.
The Rev. Pete Nelson declined to comment on the arrests, then added, “Bring them to church.”
Mezzetta said the sheriff’s office received several tips following the vandalism.
“Sheriff (Ron) Pierini extends his gratitude to all the citizens who called the sheriff’s office with tips and information concerning this incident,” Mezzetta said.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.
When the Judicial & Law Enforcement Center was built 40 years ago, there were only 19,400 people living in Douglas County.