Church shocked by graffiti

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Reporter - Jason Hibbs
Photojournalist - Chad Darnall

PADUCAH, Ky. - The words "hypocrite" and "obey God" were spray painted on the side of the Central Church of Christ in Paducah Thursday night.

A deacon at the church, Tony Kiefer, thinks his congregation was targeted for a reason, and police say this could classify as a hate crime.  The deacon says he believes someone has a problem with a member of his congregation, and this is how they're voicing their opinion.  With that said, niether the deacon or police would give Local 6 specifics.

At the Central Church of Christ, members are always trying to spread the word, but Deacon Kiefer said the messages must come down.

One on the corner will likely catch drivers' eyes and another on the back of the bus is like a moving billboard.

"That will travel all over the city," Kiefer said.

He said the timing couldn't be worse.

"First thing that hit me Sunday, I've got to use the bus and Monday we've got V.B.S.," Kiefer said.

Police are looking for leads.

Neighbor Ted McMahan hopes he can help.

"There were two trucks, maybe 10, 10:30, that were parked really weird," McMahan said.

Paducah Police Sargent Rob Hefner thinks this was no random act.

"It's a pretty sad day when it comes to attacking a church. It appears there is connection with the crime itself and the church," Hefner said.

And while all of this is disturbing, Deacon Kiefer says the third and final message that says 'obey God' is a bit ironic.

He hopes the vandals practice what they preach.

"We just hope the person involved or person will own up to it, see that they've done wrong and make amends. If they can't make amends with us, make amends with the Lord," Kiefer said.

Deacon Kiefer took the bus to a nearby body shop, where they were able to remove the spray paint without damaging the lettering or the surface paint. They're still working on removing the graffiti from the sides of the building.

Sergeant Hefner said the person behind the graffiti will face first degree criminal mischief charges. If police can categorize this as a hate crime, those charges will be enhanced.

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