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Crystal Cathedral sustains vandal attack

Video footage shows a man methodically etching initials at 11 locations at the church.

September 26, 2007|David Haldane | Times Staff Writer

Church officials Tuesday released video footage showing an alleged vandal whose etchings over the weekend caused nearly $40,000 damage to Garden Grove's Crystal Cathedral.

"He just kept writing the same thing," said Michael Nason, a spokesman for the church known internationally as home to "Hour of Power," a popular Christian TV program.

"We have no idea what it means."

Nason said the tagger methodically scratched "B1R" into glass, granite and steel at 11 places on the church campus at 13280 Chapman Ave., including on its well-known spire.

The defacements were discovered early Monday.

The next day, he said, church officials found that security cameras had apparently captured the acts Saturday about 8:30 p.m. shortly after the church played host to a family festival.

"His mannerisms on tape seem very nonchalant," Nason said of the alleged vandal.

Garden Grove police Tuesday said they were looking for a man who was described as being in his early 20s, about 5 feet 10, slight of build with dark hair and wearing tan pants and a black leather jacket.

Initial investigation, they said, indicated that the vandalism was the work of an individual tagger or unidentified tagging crew rather than that of a gang.

If apprehended, the culprit or culprits would probably be charged with felony vandalism, they said.

Nason said it was at least the second time the landmark church, founded by the Rev. Robert H. Schuller, had been hit by vandals.

The last incident, about 15 years ago, was also caught on tape, which ultimately led to the tagger's arrest.

The latest vandalism, Nason said, saddened members of the church staff.

"This is a sanctuary," he said, "a place where you come for safety and sanctity."

Times staff writer David Kelly contributed to this report.

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