For weeks, vandals have been targeting the signs of a Colorado Springs church, causing at least $500 in damages, and police say other churches have been the victim of similar crimes.
The crime spree is happening on the northeast side of Colorado Springs, near Springs Ranch Elementary. The Gospel of Grace Church has been placing its signs along a stretch of Peterson Rd, showing people where this new church holds its services. But, people aren't getting the directions because the signs are either stolen or tagged with spray paint.
The church has only been around for a year, and about two months ago its signs started disappearing. "They were stolen and vandalized, and now this right here," said Pastor David Moore just before Sunday’s church service, pointing to a sign that had been covered with spray paint.
"It seems like it's foolish, it's petty and it's completely unnecessary," Pastor Moore said. "This is not the way."
When the signs first started disappearing Pastor Moore and his wife reported the crime to police, then took matters into their own hands. They bought locks and chains. They hoped the signs would stay put for drivers to see. "Obviously that did not work," Pastor Moore said.
He puts the signs up every Sunday morning, before service. Then he picks them up afterward. Even though he keeps a close eye on them, they still get damaged.
"This is America and this is freedom of expression of religion,” Pastor Moore said.
The Pastor and his wife have even begun staking out the neighborhood on Sunday mornings. They said this Sunday they watched someone who they think was vandalizing their signs. They were able to write down the license plate of the car he was in and they gave the information to Colorado Springs police. CSPD told 11 News this same crime is happening to several other churches.
The pastor says each of the signs costs at least $60 to replace.