PERRY HALL, Md. (WJZ) — Vandals strike a Perry Hall church–not once, but twice in a matter of weeks. The suspects are in custody.
Gigi Barnett explains the church needs help recovering from the crime.
Broken windows, damaged flooring and destroyed air conditioning units. It’s what members of the Perry Hall Presbyterian Church on Bel Air Road found last month when two alleged vandals broke inside the church’s community recreation center.
“When we came in, there was broken glass everywhere,” said church elder Tom Heimiller.
Members say for months, they noticed that someone was breaking into the building, leaving some damage and trash behind. Then last month, on Dec.29, one parishioner called police with reports of an air conditioning unit ripped out of a window. Officers found much more when they arrived.
“An officer located an adult male wearing only a T-shirt and shorts walking in close proximity to the church. Not only did that male have blood on his hands, he had blood on his clothing also,” said Cpl. John Wachter.
They arrested him and a few blocks away, they found another suspect. Police have identified those suspects as 19-year-old Jason Cotherman and 18-year-old Andrew Cotherman. They are brothers.
“I personally felt a little violated. I’ve always been a member of this church. I’ve been here since I was a child and seeing the damage was pretty rough,” said church member Edward Heimiller.
Only one window was left intact. All the others were destroyed by the vandals. Luckily, they left behind some expensive electronics, but now there is a tremendous amount of work that needs to be done here. Everything needs to be replaced from the floor to the ceiling.
“The church isn’t wealthy and looking at all that glass and just hoping the insurance might cover everything is just a little unnerving,” Heimiller said.
The Boy Scouts, YMCA and other youth groups frequently use the building. They’re all displaced now.
The church says it has few funds and volunteers to set things right.
The Cotherman brothers are facing destruction of property charges. Meanwhile, the church says if you’d like to help restore the building with paint, carpet or tile, call 410-256-6780.
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