Two young men charged with vandalizing Greenport’s historic Greek Orthodox church recently have apologized to the priest there and offered to pay for the damage, the priest said Thursday.
In turn, the Rev. Jerasimos Ballas said he plans to reach out to authorities and ask for leniency for the two men.
"We need to forgive," Ballas said. "I know it's bad for kids at the beginning of their careers to have a record with the police."
Surveillance video of two men vandalizing Saints Anargyroi, Taxiarchis and Gerasimos Greek Orthodox Church at about 7:24 p.m. on Aug. 19 — shattering a stained-glass window, knocking down the church’s sign and kicking over flower pots — led to the men's surrender Thursday, police said.
Mitchell Maver, 22, of Burlington, Vermont, and Wesley Brown, 21, of Briarcliff Manor in Westchester County, turned themselves in at police headquarters Thursday morning, Southold Town police said.
Both men were charged with criminal mischief in the fourth degree, a misdemeanor, and released on $250 bail, and face a future court date, police said.
Chief Martin Flatley said the two men's actions were not hate crimes or directed against the congregation members.
Ballas said the two told him they had been working in Greenport for the summer and got drunk celebrating their last day on the job.
"I don't like what they did," he said. "I hope and pray they know it was wrong."
Ballas said Maver told him he hopes to pursue a career in law enforcement, and the pastor said he did not want this incident hanging over the young man's head. He said the two have offered to pay for the damage, estimated at $2,500.
Police said that after the surveillance footage was distributed to local media, “and its subsequent feedback from the public, two suspects were eventually identified.”