Newport Beach police arrested a San Dimas man Saturday on suspicion of shattering the stained glass windows at a church with a baseball bat.
Officers received a call about 2:45 a.m. from a neighbor who reported hearing breaking glass at Christ Church by the Sea in the 1400 West Balboa Boulevard block, police said.
The Rev. Paul Capetz, a senior pastor at the church, arrived later to find the sanctuary’s windows shattered. The damage was extensive with repairs estimated to cost $80,000 to $100,000, he said.
“It was clear that there was an awful lot of damage done,” he said. “We had a crew of about 14 volunteers who worked for hours and cleaned up very thoroughly.”
Nicholas Briones, 27, was arrested at the scene on suspicion of felony vandalism and a probation violation, police said.
Briones was believed to be suffering from mental illness, said Sgt. Shawn Dugan, a spokesman for the Newport Police Department. Investigators believe he planned to vandalize Our Lady of Mount Carmel, a Catholic church across the street, in the same manner.
“There was no indication of any hate crime motive,” Dugan said.
Capetz said he doesn’t believe the suspect has any ties to his congregation, which is one of the oldest churches in Newport Beach.
The church’s stained glass windows, which depicted biblical scenes, were gifts from many church members who have since passed away.
Police boarded up all the damaged windows and services resumed Sunday morning.
“It really does feel like a desecration,” Capetz said. “We have to pick up the pieces, both figuratively and literally, and move ahead.”
|Read More Latest Crime News From United States & European Countries|