CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - A man has been arrested in connection with vandalism at Ironbridge Baptist Church.
Police said the man broke into the church, tore pages of Bibles and threw them to the ground.
Jacob Farnworth, 25, of Richmond, was arrested on warrants of breaking and entering, possession of burglary tools and vandalism. He was arrested without incident, and is being held at the Chesterfield County Jail without bond.
Surveillance images show a man police said broke into Ironbridge Baptist Church just before midnight Nov. 6. He also is suspected of spray-painting walls in the church.
Police said the was wearing a black jacket, light-colored jeans, dark-colored shoes and a black hat that appeared to say “I ❤️ Jesus” hat.
Police say the man gained access through a malfunction automatic lock.
“This incident does not appear to be random,” Chesterfield Police said in a Facebook post.
Church leaders and members spent Wednesday cleaning up and taking a closer look at their security.
“It goes through your mind, what’s the next step with someone who is thinking that way and is obsessed that way," said Executive Pastor Dennis Green. “We’ll be ramping our own internal security up. as well as inviting Chesterfield county to be involved.”
It’s not the first time the church has been targeted, during the summer of 2017, suspects were caught on camera stealing computer equipment, but this time, Green says nothing was stolen, only damaged. He says it seems the suspect knew his way around the church.
“The society, the world we live in is so dived and so venom-filled with hate for this group or that group.” he said. “Christians aren’t unaffected by that, it’s certainly sad--but it’s reality we have to deal with it.”
Green says they want the suspect to realizes he can find help from Ironbridge Church instead of trying to harm them.
“We love you, we forgive you, we would love the opportunity to sit down with you and to hear you, so that you can express to us in a healthy way what your challenges are and your issues are.”
Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call Crime Solvers at (804) 748-0660.