Vandals strike The Pentacostals of Okeechobee, leave behind evidence

OKEECHOBEE, Fla. - An Okeechobee church became the target for vandals on Tuesday, causing about $20,000 worth of damage, according to Okeechobee Police.

The vandals ruined almost everything, but took nothing from The Pentecostals of Okeechobee .

Church members say they were heading to a prayer service Tuesday night when water came pouring out of the doors.

One member spent hours cleaning the mess up on Wednesday. "I felt violated. I honestly didn't feel safe, and when I come here I always feel safe."

Reverend Raymond Warren says the vandals first clogged three sinks in the church and left the water running for hours.

They've had to pull up all the wood floors, and have to replace damp carpet.

The vandals then went for the church's cleaning supplies, and poured bleach on the chairs and carpet. They also knocked over an organ, and cut the cords attached to speakers and microphones. They also poured bleach on instruments.

"The laptop computer that was on the pulpit, they poured bleach in that," pastor Warren said.

Whoever broke in, however, didn't complete the damage without leaving a mark. Reverend Warren says residue left from a fire extinguisher that was sprayed in the church revealed footprints. He says the shoe size is an 11 1/2.

Now, the pastor and members are focused on getting the church ready for Sunday service.

"I have no hatred toward them. I feel bad if they don't have a life that they would have to resort to something like this for kicks. It's sort of sad."

The church also removed its basketball goals so as not to attract any non-members.

Police say graffiti was also sprayed along the back of the church.

The church does not have insurance, so repairs will be coming from its own funds.

Members are installing new locks on the doors and exploring other security options.

Anyone with any information on the vandalism is asked to call Okeechobee Police at 863-763-5521.

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