AMITYVILLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Authorities on Long Island are looking for vandals who spray painted satanic graffiti on several churches in Suffolk County over the weekend.
Police say the crimes happened sometime between 9:30 p.m. Friday and 10:55 a.m. Saturday.READ MORE: Sneak Peek: Lincoln Center Plaza Transformed Into Green Space For Outdoor Summer Performances
Shaw Temple A.M.E. Zion Church, Zion Gospel Church, and Amityville Full Gospel Tabernacle in Amityville were all targeted, according to police.
“We were quite alarmed being that the church has been in the neighborhood for over 50 to 60 years,” Reverend Dr. C.R. Price of Zion Gospel tells WCBS 880’s Myles Miller. She adds they’ve removed the graffiti in time for Sunday’s services but the incident is still very alarming.
Police are investigating the incidents as hate crimes.
As CBS2’s Ali Bauman reported, the spree comes just days after parishioners in East Meadow found similar graffiti with a similar message at the New Covenant Church, it’s side doors spray painted with devil worshiping symbols and witchcraft hexes. The front doors were also smashed.READ MORE: LIRR Service Restored After Massive Fire At Westbury Garbage Facility
“If somebody came and painted up your house with satanic symbols I think you’d be disturbed too,” New Covenant Pastor Rob Taormina said last week. “You don’t know who they are or if they would come back.”
Nassau County Police have increased patrols in the area, even as parishioners pray for whoever behind the ominous tagging.
“Whoever it is, we are praying that God will just reach out to them and touch them,” Pastor Taormina said.
Reverend Price echoes his sentiment.
“We must forgive,” she said. “We must reach out and pray for the people who did do this, and pray that authorities will be able to apprehend them.”
Police in Long Island are now trying to determine whether the cases may be connected.MORE NEWS: Police Open Fire After Pulling Over Suspected Car Thief On West Side Highway
Anyone with information about the incidents is asked to call the Hate Crimes Section at 631-852-6323 or call anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.