2 arrested after New Jersey church organ destroyed in attempt to steal pipes

FREEHOLD, New Jersey (WABC) -- Two men have been arrested in an act of vandalism that destroyed a church organ in New Jersey.

Police say 35-year-old Junior Romero and 35-year-old Darwin Romero are facing charges of burglary, criminal mischief, and unlawful entry of a structure. The two men, both Freehold residents, are not related, authorities said.

The First United Methodist Church of Freehold posted about the incident on its Facebook page last Wednesday, saying that someone gained access to the sanctuary with the apparent goal of stealing the decorative pipes.

The pastor says it led to the collapse of the pipes, when then fell onto the organ. He said it looked like a bomb went off behind the organ.

"While the damage is shocking and disturbing, we thank God that no one was injured and nothing was stolen," Pastor Wil wrote.

The instrument is nearly 60 years old and sits at the heart of the sanctuary. Church officials said one of the doors was unlatched, but they still are not sure if this was planned or a crime of opportunity.

"We will not let this crush our spirits," the pastor wrote. "Please join me in praying for our Trustees as they work to fix this issue. May we also pray for the person(s) desperate enough to commit this crime."

Pastor Wil said he has forgiveness for the person or people who did this to his church.

Insurance will cover most of the costs and the church is getting calls from people who care and want to help.

Police are continuing to search for a third person wanted for questioning in this case.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Freehold Police Department.

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