A Rockaway New Jersey man was arrested after allegedly vandalizing a church in Torrington, Connecticut.
According to authorities, a priest at St. Francis Church found the 33-year-old suspect screaming in a church garden.
After speaking with the priest and claiming that he just wanted to pray, the suspect reportedly went inside the church and pulled a fire alarm. He then allegedly ran through the building and began to knock over candles and statues, remove artwork from the walls, destroy papers, and overturn plants.
The vandalism spree reportedly caused extensive damage to the church.
A short time after the incident, local police were called to the scene. When police officers arrived at the church, they saw the damage. However, the suspect had already fled the area.
Police investigated further and managed to track down the suspect at a Quality Inn motel a short distance away from the church.
The suspect was placed under arrest and charged with a number of criminal offenses, including criminal mischief, desecration of property, and breach of peace.
Although the suspect has been charged in Connecticut, he would face equally serious criminal charges if he had been accused of committing the same offenses in New Jersey. As set forth by N.J.S.A. 2C:17-3, anyone who purposely causes more than $2,000 worth of damage to property can be charged with third degree criminal mischief. A conviction on third degree criminal mischief charges could result in a sentence of 3-5 years in NJ State Prison.
After the suspect was arrested and processed in Connecticut, he was taken to the local county jail. He was being held at the correctional facility on a $25,000 bail amount.
For additional information about this case, view the NJ.com article entitled “N.J. Man Trashes Church After Being Found Screaming in Garden, Report Says.”