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Churches of northern Nevada town vandalized on Easter Sunday

Vandals chose Easter to deface most — if not all — of the six churches in Incline Village, church leaders of the Northern Nevada town said Sunday.

Attendees of Incline Village Foursqure Church arrived for services to see “Jesus is a lie” and upside-down crosses spray-painted on the building’s walls, said John and Ruby Cole, co-pastors of the congregation.

“I believe it was every church,” said a representative of Cornerstone Community Church.

Before being called, police showed up at Foursquare Church about 10:15 a.m., John Cole, 68, said. It was the fourth church the officer had been to, and he said the other three also had been vandalized.

While John Cole was filing a report outside, the church’s worship leader asked the congregation to pray and ask that “God would bless these people and forgive them for what they have done,” Ruby Cole said, adding that they also hoped the vandals would have a “change of heart.”

The graffiti was “very disturbing,” and Coles said they have not seen a similar act during their 25-year stay at the small town, population less than 10,000 in 2012. Still, they said that they “downplayed” it since the day was more important than the graffiti.

Eric Heidecker, the priest of St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church expressed his sympathy for the vandals, saying “we feel more sad for them … to feel the need to express this level of hopelessness.”

At least two messages were seen by the front doors, reading “a hoax” and “a lie,” accompanied by arrows pointing to the cross, Heidecker said.

The priest had not yet been able to see all of the vandalism at his church, he said at about 12:30 p.m., as the morning’s Easter services had just ended.

In Las Vegas, “there are no reports of churches being vandalized,” Metro Lt. John Liberty said Sunday afternoon.

A call from the Review-Journal to the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office was not immediately returned.

Contact Kimberly De La Cruz at kdelacruz@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0381. Find her on Twitter: @KimberlyinLV. Contact Ricardo Torres at rtorres@reviewjournal.com and 702-383-0381. Find him on Twitter: @rickytwrites.

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