MPD steps up patrols after downtown church vandalized twice

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Memphis Police confirm officers are making extra rounds near a downtown church, after vandals struck a second time in a month.

This week, crews worked to clean up graffiti at Church of the River on West Virginia.

"Some of it was crass and profane. More of it was just random. It was certainly disturbing though. It's hurtful when you find that space that you consider sacred is being taken so profanely, so lightly by others," said Interim Minister Eric Posa.

Perhaps what is most unsettling to Rev. Posa is that churchgoers could see these images through the window at worship Sunday.

"While it's saddening to see this, it's also a reminder that we are part of a complex community, and though people may have different reactions to us, especially at a time when views about religion in general are changing in our society, we are still a people who are driven by the spirit of love," Posa said.

Earlier this month, someone sprayed a small amount of graffiti on the river-facing side of the building.

This past weekend, the same side of the church got hit again.

Only this time, police believe there was more than $500 worth of damage.

While crews have been able to clean off most of it, there is still a section where the graffiti remains faintly visible.

Still, Posa said the vandalism cannot damage churchgoers' spirits.

"My hope is that if we are able to find out who did this, we're able to have some dialogue with them to find out why, to share with them the impact it's had on us, and also share something with them about who we are," Posa said.

Police are investigating the most recent case as a felony.

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