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Church turns to community for help to solve crime

June 3, 2016
Westley Elkins - Special to the Chronicle , Shepherdstown Chronicle

An act of vandalism at Asbury Church has left one side of their electronic marquee inoperable. The act is believed to have occurred the night of Wednesday, May 11. The following morning it was noticed that one side of the marquee was not working and that there were several dents in the screen from where stones had been thrown at it.

When the electronic marquee was first installed, there were concerns from the community about the marquee's brightness and whether it would distract drivers. The church lowered the brightness in order to help. The church's electronic marquee was the first in the community.

"We are a longstanding partner of the community. We have been around for over one hundred years," says Dr. Rudolph Bropleh, the senior pastor at Asbury Church, "but vandalism will take our focus away from helping the community."

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Dr. Bropleh estimates that the cost to repair the marquee will be over $2,500. Insurance will cover the cost of the repairs. There will more costs to add additional security to the church in order to prevent more acts of vandalism. But for every dollar that Asbury has to spend on repairs and additional security is money taken away from bettering the community.

What was also disheartening to Dr. Bropleh, in addition to the vandalism, was the response they received from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department. No one from the Sheriff's Department came out to the scene, instead Dr. Bropleh says they were told to send pictures of the damage and the insurance information.

"For someone to vandalize our sign is discouraging and disappointing," said Bropleh. "We try to do good things to improve the quality of life in our community. We have always been a peaceful partner. Vandalizing church property is simply wrong, no matter how you feel about the church, and what effects some of us now, will eventually effect all us (in the community) later."

A representative from the Jefferson County Sheriff's was contacted by the Chronicle and stated that there would be a follow-up investigation with the church.

While it is not yet clear what the motivation behind the vandalism was, there is concern about escalation. The people at Asbury church would like to dedicate their time and resources to improving the community rather than worrying about vandalisms. Dr. Bropleh urges whoever is responsible for the damage, or anyone who might have any information that may help resolve this matter to please come forward.

 
 
 

 

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