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Vandals hit churrch in Brooklyn

September 22, 2009 3:44:19 PM PDT
The hunt is on for the vandals who robbed a Brooklyn Unitarian church last week. "This room had been tossed. Things had been pulled off shelves," explained Rev. Patrick O'Neill of First Unitarian Church.

The mess and the graffiti have been cleaned up. The money is gone. But for Reverend O'Neill the pain still lingers.

"Whoever did this, whatever is going on in their heart and soul, there is something hateful there," he said.

Two weekends ago robbers vandalized the 170-year-old First Unitarian Church in Brooklyn Heights. On a basement wall they printed religious, ethnic and racial epithets aimed at blacks, Jews, Arabs and gays. They also stole thousands of dollars collected from parishioners during the Sunday morning worship service.

"The cash was taken out but the checks made out to the church we're just left on the floor here," O'Neill said.

The robbery here at the church happened the day after an annual meeting with community Muslim leaders, an annual event that started after the 9/11 attacks.

The NYPD's hate crimes task force is investigating the robbery, which involved no forces entry into the church. Reverend O'Neill says many social service agencies and charitable organizations use the church, which now has a new set of locks.

"My husband spoke to the hate crimes detectives unit who spoke to the neighbors and I was staggered that had happened," Fell Gray said.

"It's certainly a concern for all of us because someone who would do that to a church, it's not fair, it's pretty outrageous," Donna McCarthy said.

The church sits directly across the street from a state courthouse equipped with security cameras. A court officer told us the cameras did not capture any pictures of the suspects.

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