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Long IslandCrime

Cops: Satanic graffiti found on 4 N. Amityville churches

The Rev. Walter C. Willie Jr. of Prayer

The Rev. Walter C. Willie Jr. of Prayer Tabernacle Church of God in Christ next to satanic graffiti on Sunday, June 18, 2017. Credit: Joe Turner

Four churches in North Amityville were spray-painted with satanic graffiti over the weekend in what Suffolk police said are hate crimes.

Sometime between 9:30 p.m. Friday and about 11 a.m. Saturday, police said, a person or persons spray-painted the messages on Shaw Temple A.M.E. Zion Church on Albany Avenue, Amityville Full Gospel Tabernacle on Brefni Street, and Zion Gospel Church on Warren Street.

A fourth church, Prayer Tabernacle Church of God in Christ on Great Neck Road, was also spray-painted sometime Saturday, police said.

Investigators said they are checking to see whether the four cases are connected, police said, and if there’s a connection with the similar vandalism of a church in East Meadow, which was also classified as a hate crime.

Nassau police on Tuesday began intensifying patrols at churches across the county after what police called “anti-Christian” symbols, including upside-down crosses, were spray-painted on the exterior walls of New Covenant Church on Bellmore Avenue sometime between 7 p.m. last Sunday and 1 p.m. Monday, police said.

The church’s glass front door also was shattered and “cursed devil” and other words were spray-painted on the outside walls, police said.

At Prayer Tabernacle Church in North Amityville, a downward pointing star often used to represent Satanism was spray-painted on an exterior wall. There was no information immediately available about the symbols painted on the other churches.

Zion Gospel’s pastor Willard Price said in an interview Saturday that the image at that site was painted on the front door.

“I don’t know if it was children or adults,” Price said. “The only thing we can do is pray for the individual.”

Babylon Town Supervisor Rich Schaffer said the incidents are “terrible” but he pledged the support of the community for the churches.

“Clearly the police are investigating and hopefully there’ll be some video they can take a look at,” Schaffer said in a telephone interview Sunday. “This was clearly done by deranged people — even if it’s kids under 18 I don’t give them a pass. They’ve been learning this hate somewhere. We as a community are going to stand up for the churches and houses of worship in the town.”

Anyone with information is asked to call the Suffolk County police Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-220-TIPS. Callers’ identities will be kept confidential.

With Nicole Fuller and Kristopher Brooks


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