Churches repaint after profane graffiti sprayed on sign, buildings

*Note – This story contains profane graffiti images some might find offensive 

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — Sheila and her husband Gary Scott had positive spirits as they helped to repaint their church hit by profane graffiti messages – including one denouncing God – overnight.

“We volunteered to come and clean it the best we could,”Sheila Scott said.

Deputies are investigating after graffiti with profane wording and images appeared on two church buildings and a sign Friday April 17, 2020. (PHOTO BY SHEILA SCOTT)

Sheila Scott, 61, and Gary Scott, 63, are members of Lutheran Church of Redeemer, one of two churches on 27th Avenue that were tagged with spray paint with offensive messages and phallic drawings. The other church targeted, Glendale Baptist Church, is right down the street from Lutheran Church.

“We think it’s somebody with too much time on their hands,” said Sheila Scott, of Vero Beach. “I have no idea what would compel somebody to do something like this. What a sad state of our world.”

The Indian River County Sheriff’s Office was reviewing surveillance footage of one of the incidents, sheriff’s spokesman Maj. Eric Flowers said. It was unclear which church had the surveillance video.

Flowers said juveniles are more than likely connected to both incidents. No arrests were made as of Friday afternoon.

Motorists driving along the road were shocked early Friday to see the words “(Expletive) God” spray painted in large black letters on the sign near the roadway at Lutheran Church, which has been in operation for more than 100 years. A crudely drawn image of a phallic symbol was also spray painted on the church’s front outdoor wall near a large cross.

Down the street at Glendale Baptist, the words “(expletive) the system” were spray painted on the outer wall near a door. Pictures of the graffiti were widely shared on Facebook neighborhood groups.

Sheila Scott said a neighbor rang her doorbell at 10:30 a.m. Friday, telling her about the vandalism. The Scott’s went to the church, saw the offensive messages, filed an incident report with the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office and started repainting.

Sheila Scott said she thinks people are starting to “lose their minds” because of the stay-at-home order in Florida. Gov. Ron DeSantis filed the order earlier this month because of public health concerns from the coronavirus.

“There’s no call for someone to (spray paint a church). I think people are bored and getting into mischief,” Sheila Scott said. “If you want to get out, go and volunteer at a food bank. There’s plenty of other things for people to do besides vandalizing property.”

The graffiti at Glendale Baptist was painted over with white coating Friday morning. The Scotts painted over the graffiti at Lutheran Church Friday afternoon.

Sheila Scott said several motorists and workers with Brister Signs Inc, a sign shop, stopped by the church and offered to repaint. Scott said the gesture restored her faith in humanity.

Rev. Chris Kollmann, pastor of Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, was not immediately available for comment.

Several other churches are located along 27th Avenue. Flowers said he was unaware of any other churches in the area tagged with graffiti.

Flowers said the agency has provided increased patrolling at local churches since the stay-at-home order. It was unclear if the surveillance footage would be released.

No further details were immediately available.

Photos by Nick Samuel and provided by Sheila Scott

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