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2 charged in vandalism of northwestern Indiana church

Authorities say two men are facing charges after they allegedly ransacked a northwestern Indiana church and left behind painted hate messages.

Posted: Jun 3, 2019 9:26 AM

HAMMOND, Ind. (AP) — Authorities say two men are facing charges after they allegedly ransacked a northwestern Indiana church and left behind painted hate messages.

The (Northwest Indiana) Times reports Hammond police announced Saturday that 23-year-old Aaron J. Vanoppens and 22-year-old Nicholas D. Reding were charged with one count each of burglary and institutional criminal mischief. Court records Monday didn't list lawyers for the Hammond men.

Police say the interior of Faith United Church of Christ in Hammond sustained significant damage. Officers responded last Wednesday morning after it was discovered. An altar, an organ, restrooms, a display case and an office were damaged during the break-in and subsequent vandalism.

Church councilmember Janice Barney has said that "hate messages" that included "Hail Satan" were also painted inside the church and its interior was "trashed."

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