Several Gulfport churches, cemetery vandalized

Police are investigating a bizarre string of vandalism cases at Gulfport churches.
Published: Mar. 25, 2022 at 6:10 PM CDT
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Police are investigating a bizarre string of vandalism cases at Gulfport churches.

Investigators say vandals broke into Handsboro United Methodist Church through a stained glass window, using a cross stolen from another church. Once inside, they took the alter bible and another wooden cross that has sentimental value to the Handsboro congregation.

“It was the bible placed on the alter that had been there for many many years that was presented to the church along with the cross that we use during the Lent season,” Pastor John McCay said.

Sad to report that the sanctuary was vandalized. One of our beautiful stained glass windows was broken and the Bible on...

Posted by Handsboro United Methodist Church on Thursday, March 24, 2022

Church neighbor Henry Rollins was shocked, and said he never thought something like this would happen. Pastor John McCay said he hopes to get the bible and the cross back.

“This is one of the rare things that happens. It don’t happen. I never hear of anything like this happening around here,” Rollins explained.

Police are trying to figure out if this most recent break-in is related to other vandalism at churches in the area. Fernwood Baptist Church on Pass Road was broken into twice recently.

Saint James Cemetery at Anniston and Pass was also vandalized earlier this week, with several angels snapped off headstones.

Father Ryan McCoy said all of the items vandalized had great sentimental value. The body of Christ was there since the opening of the cemetery and held up through all the hurricanes.

A depiction of Christ was broken off a cross from St. James Cemetery and left on Handsboro Baptist’s front doorstep Friday. The statue has since been returned to its rightful home.

“He didn’t know who it belonged to but when he saw the news story he realized it belonged to us and returned it,” McCoy said.

If you have any information that could help investigators, call the Gulfport Police Department at 228-868-5959 or Mississippi Coast Crime Stoppers at 877-787-5898.

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