PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - A homeless man is in jail after police say he walked into a Phoenix church and damaged several century-old statues.

“I preached on it yesterday,” said Rev. Michael Weldon of St. Mary’s Basilica in downtown Phoenix. “After the mass, the people came over and knelt and many of them were weeping.”

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The reverend says he doesn’t yet have plans to fix the statues.

According to Phoenix police, 35-year-old Devon Thomas entered the church around 1 p.m. Saturday, disturbing the sanctuary and destroying the relics. Thomas hit a church employee when she tried to stop him.

“I don’t know that our staff actually held him down, but they surrounded him at least until the police got there,” Rev. Weldon said.

Police say Thomas is now facing charges of aggravated criminal damage and assault.

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the incident doesn’t change the stance on keeping the church’s doors unlocked and the congregation open to all-comers.

"This does stand out because it was a church, and the items that were destroyed, very old, very sacred,” said Phoenix Police Sgt. Vince Lewis.

But staff at St. Mary’s hope that some good might be able to come out of the bad.

“In the streets of Phoenix there are so many mentally ill, and addicted, and folks with both,” Rev. Weldon said. “It only says that we’re not caring for people enough.”

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Staff at St. Mary’s hope that some good might be able to come out of the bad.

The reverend says he doesn’t yet have plans to fix the statues but says the incident doesn’t change his stance on keeping the church’s doors unlocked and the congregation open to all-comers.

“This is about people, not statues,” Weldon said.

 


Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

 

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(1) comment

ObeyLaws

Interesting to note that churches pay no taxes - ironically the very taxes that put food on the table for the police officers' families who were called to investigate this crime. Churches should pay taxes like everyone else if they expect to receive the benefits of taxes.

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