BERKELEY – Police are investigating an incident where someone spray painted graffiti on the front sign of the Woodland Road entrance to the Saint Barnabas Roman Catholic Church. A local group has offered an award for any information that leads to an arrest.
The incident would have occurred within the last 24 hours, police said.
The graffiti had been washed away by 9 a.m. this morning. According to published reports, there were upside-down crosses, the phrase “Satan rules” and an expletive.
A church representative declined to comment, and directed questions to the police department.
The Berkeley Township Police Detective Bureau is conducting the investigation to determine suspects and a motive, police said. Anyone with information relating to this incident can give it anonymously at 732-341-1132 ext. 611 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Knights of Columbus use Saint Barnabas as their home. Therefore, they offered a $500 reward for information that leads to a conviction in this case, said Allan Huhn, a grand knight in the Bayville Knights.
“Everybody’s pretty upset because that church does nothing but help the community,” he said. “Why would they want to do that to our church?”
There are scores of outreach programs that come from that church, whether it is the Knights or some other group, he said. Between food and clothing collections or youth leadership, Saint Barnabas is a focal point for Bayville and even surrounding towns.
When the police catch those responsible, Huhn suggested that part of their punishment should include community service out of the church.