EAST MEADOW, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Long Island church was vandalized with satanic worship symbols, and police are now calling it a hate crime.
As CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, some New Covenant Church parishioners in East Meadow walked the grounds Tuesday while others took videos of what they say is a stark reminder that nothing is sacred.
“If somebody came and painted your house up with satanic symbols, I think you’d be disturbed too, because you don’t know who they are and you don’t know if they would come back,” pastor Rob Taormina told McLogan.
The pastor discovered the front vestibule had been smashed, with shards and chucks of glass strewn across the entrance. He found the side door spray painted with “devil worship” and upside down crosses, and the back with cursing messages and witchcraft hexes.
“They are lucky I didn’t see them doing it,” neighbor Donald Forger said. “I would have went over there.”
“It is definitely a hate crime. We are considering it a hate crime right now, because it’s a church,” Nassau County Police Det. Lt. Richard LeBrun said.
Police said the church did not receive any threats.
The harassing words and symbols may have been painted under the cover of darkness. Neighbors said they saw nothing.
“So sad because we have been coming here to celebrate God,” parishioner Wilfredo Arrivillaga said.
“I’m really surprised this happened, especially at the church,” a neighbor said.
Patrols will be stepped up along Bellmore Avenue and throughout religious communities in Nassau County.
“Whoever it is, we are praying that God will just reach out to them and touch them,” Taormina said.
There was no surveillance at the covenant, but the pastor said the vandalism has prompted him to install security cameras for the church.
Church members and their East Meadow neighbors have volunteered to repair the door and paint over the words and symbols.