Vandals strike twice at St. Theresa church in Summerville

SUMMERVILLE — Vandals destroyed a statue of St. Joseph at St. Theresa the Little Flower March 15 or 16 and Msgr. Edward Lofton wants to know who did it.

Also, the criminals knocked over signs and drove through the grass, leaving deep tire tracks.

This is the second act of vandalism on the church this year. In January, someone shot paintballs at the church building, the bell and belltower, the pro-life monument and the grave of former pastor, Father David Schiller.

“Twice in a row they picked on our statues,” Msgr. Lofton said in an interview with The Miscellany. “As far as I’m concerned, it’s a hate crime.”

Msgr. Lofton, church pastor, reported the crime to the Summerville sheriff’s department. The sheriff’s report for the second crime was not available at the time of this interview, but the Jan. 29 report stated that the cost of the damage was $100.

“So far, it has cost us $1,000,” Msgr. Lofton said about the first act of vandalism.

He estimates the final cost for that cleanup to be anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000. He has not yet determined the cost for the second act of vandalism.

The marble statue of St. Joseph was donated by a parishioner. It is located at the back of the church on a hill. It sits on a steel rod.

Msgr. Lofton said it had to be pulled down with a rope. Footprints are visible on the back of the statue. Another statue of an angel also was knocked over.

“It makes me very angry,” Msgr. Lofton said. He refuses to close the gates to the church property, however.

“I’m not going to live like that,” he said.