Church vandalized in apparent hate crime; suspects on the loose

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

GOODYEAR, Ariz. – Somebody broke into a Goodyear church overnight and did tens of thousands of dollars in damage in what appears to be a hate crime.

It happened sometime late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning.

At this point, it’s not clear why the west campus of Desert Springs Community Church, which is located just northwest of Litchfield and Indian School roads in Goodyear, was targeted.

According to the Goodyear Police Department, the suspect or suspects broke in and “did extensive damage by spray painting various profanities and hate crime symbols.”

No specific information about the vandalism was immediately available, but police said walls and property inside the church were damaged, as well.

Initial estimates put costs for the damage at nearly $20,000.

It’s not known if there is surveillance video of the perpetrator or perpetrators in action.

Church officials posted limited information about the break-in on the church’s Facebook page Thursday morning. They are hoping to hold their regular Sunday services at the west campus.

Reverend Steve Engram, who has been the pastor at Desert Springs since 1995, has not commented on the incident.

Goodyear detectives ask that anyone with information about this crime please call the investigations line at 623-882-7484 or the Goodyear Police Department non-emergency line at 623-932-1220.

Desert Springs Community Church has a second location in Litchfield Park.