Four charged with vandalizing church


UNION COUNTY — Four teenagers have been arrested and charged with vandalizing a local church in July that included carving satanic graffiti in its porch.

In a statement released Tuesday, Union County Sheriff David Taylor announced that four people — three of them juveniles — have been charged in connection with the vandalism of Welcome Baptist Church, 206 Nichols Avenue, Union. Taylor said the four are each charged with malicious injury to a place of worship. He said those arrested include:

• Thomas James LaGrange Murphy, 18, 314 Osborne Street, Union.

• Two 16-year-old juveniles from Spartanburg.

• A 16-year-old from Union.

The incident report filed in the case states that sometime between late Friday night, July 6 and the afternoon of Monday, July 9, the following damage totaling $570 was done to the church:

• Two plastic columns that appeared to have been burned by an unknown object ($200).

• Six floorboards on the porch damaged by being cut with an unknown object, the damage including the words “Hail Satan” cut into one of the boards ($150).

• Several vinyl sidings cut with an unknown object ($200).

• A crawlspace vent cover ($20).

The report states the church’s water hose had been taken off and the water turned on and left running. In announcing the arrests Taylor said it was determined that $195 worth of water had been wasted.

In announcing the arrests, Taylor commended the work of Investigator Russell Vinson in determining the identities of the suspects and obtaining evidence leading to their arrest.

“These types of cases are not easy to solve but Investigator Vinson did an excellent job in solving this case,” Taylor said.

Warrants were signed on Murphy and the juveniles on Monday, July 30 and they were all taken into custody that day. Murphy was arrested and taken to the Union County Jail and subsequently released on bond while the juveniles, after being arrested and charged, were released to the custody of their parents.

Damage totaled $765; included satanic graffiti