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Maranatha Church in Northeast Portland hit by graffiti

Pastor Codrigus Alexander said he believes the graffiti rises to the level of a hate crime.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Staff at Maranatha Church arrived Monday morning to discover their building had been tagged. Graffiti covered a good portion of the south side of the Northeast Portland building.

"Heartbreaking," said Pastor Codrigus Alexander. "It was heartbreaking."

Alexander said he's beyond troubled by the phrases spray painted on the property, which included '666,' the mark of the beast, 'Satan,' and 'kaboom.'

"Kaboom to me is a subliminal message," Pastor Alexander said. "That could read a bomb threat. That could read an invasion of individuals shooting up the place. Whatever the case, those are the things that really stood out to me."

Credit: Mike Benner, KGW staff
Church steps tagged with graffiti.

"It's very hurtful," added Delorie Finch, who runs The Finch Academy, a preschool inside the church. "It's very hurtful and unbelievable."

Based on her own comings and goings, Finch said she believes the vandalism happened sometime between late Sunday evening and early Monday morning.

"I just sat there looking at it for a minute and I'm like 'you've got to be kidding,'" Finch said. "Why would someone do this? I read all the stuff that was on there and I said 'I just don't understand it.'"

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Regardless of the motivation, Pastor Alexander said tagging a place of worship is wrong, and he has a message for whoever is responsible.

"We're an open book," he said. "My office hours are available to you. Please come and sit and talk with us or learn."

Credit: Mike Benner, KGW staff
Catalytic converter stolen off church van.

Church staffers told KGW a catalytic converter was also stolen off one of the church vans over the weekend, although the theft and vandalism are not believed to be connected. Anyone with information about either crime is urged to contact the Portland Police Bureau. 

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