Police arrest suspect in tagging of churches in Union MO

UNION, MO - A Union Missouri teen is in custody for vandalism.  He's accused with spray-painting graffiti on 2 churches and five other buildings, including a school.  Police say the 16-year-old boy confessed to the crime and the teen is responsible for spray-painting offensive words on the church buildings.  Police say they hope teen learned a valuable lesson that this not a joke but a serious crime.  “We are praying for the young man and hopes he learns from his mistakes,” said one local church parishioner.

Police released images with the profanity, that had to be blurred as some church leaders were stunned someone would do.

Authorities say the teen vandalized several churches, the St. Paul Lutheran Church and the Zion United Church of Christ.

We are told the teen spray-painted profane phrases on the buildings and entrance signs without any remorse.  It appears he made a fluid line walking and sprayed multiple buildings and doing quite a bit of damage,” said Captain Kyle Kitcher of the Union Police Department.

Church leaders say they forgive the culprit and hope he turns his life around.  “We don’t hold any grudges, we will just pray that God will forgive him.  That’s what we believe in.”

Police say the teenager also spray-painted crude words on the Union Furniture Store windows and brick walls.  Also, a food store and Margo's business with profanity.

Police have a message for any teens who don’t value their community.

“This is a serious crime, what some youth would call tagging, this is the destruction of property which could add up to be a felony,” said Captain Kitcher.

Investigators hope he never does it again especially, a house of worship, “We try and hold those places in a higher esteem than other locations throughout the community and when somebody fails to recognized the worth in that, it certainly gets the communities attention.”

Church leaders say it took a lot of hard work to try and clean up the vandalism the 16-year-old left behind.  Meanwhile, police say the teen has been turned over to the juvenile division where he could face charges.