It's now gone up to "Nearly $8,000 damage" now! At this rate it'll be a quarter of a million by the end of the month (edited to say - not that I'm in any way accusing anyone of fraud of course!!
Church Worries About Rash Of Vandalism
By CANDACE J. SAMOLINSKI
DADE CITY - It's a serene building set in the midst of rolling hills and shaded by tall trees, but lately it's been the site of violent vandalism.
The Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses on Ramsey Road is home to about 140 members - most of whom have been rattled by a series of events that began last month and has caused nearly $8,000 damage.
``We're shocked and disheartened that anyone would attack a building that is used as a center of Bible education,'' the church's body of elders said Monday.
Their first brush with violence came the morning of Jan. 14 when someone fired 13 shots at the building, according to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office. The .22-caliber bullets damaged an air conditioning unit, two outdoor lights and the east wall.
The latest damage happened overnight Sunday, and this time it was more severe.
The four doors leading into the church are riddled with bullets and gashes, leaving the blue paint pock- marked. Shots also were fired into exterior concrete walls, interior walls and interior ceiling panels. Handicapped signs were ripped from the parking lot and three security flood lights were shattered by bullets.
``Not knowing who or why these attacks are happening has made everyone uneasy,'' the elders said.
The fear has spread to neighbors, who have been awakened on at least three occasions by the sounds of gunshots in this normally tranquil area. Each time, they have called 911 and notified the church's maintenance supervisor. However, deputies have been unable to find anyone responsible.
Still, the elders said they are grateful for their neighbors' support, adding that the neighborhood has embraced the church. The escalating situation has some neighbors concerned about their safety, but those interviewed Monday said they will continue to support the congregation.
Meanwhile, investigators are worried about the reckless nature of the vandalism and the proximity of houses to the church. No one has been injured. Detectives hope to catch those responsible before that changes.
The church serves two congregations, the elders said, and holds services in Spanish and English. The nearest Jehovah's Witnesses church is on Chancey Road in Zephyrhills, but no vandalism has been reported there, sheriff's officials said.
The elders aren't certain whether they are being targeted and can't offer a possible motive for the attacks. Aside from safety concerns, they are concentrating on how to pay for the costs of repairs.