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July 2, 2014

Authorities: Church sign near Edwardsville changed to racist message

Sheriff’s department believes vandals at fault

EDWARDSVILLE — A racist statement posted on a church sign near Edwardsville was the work of vandals, authorities said Wednesday.

The letters on Mt. Zion United Methodist Church’s sign were arranged with a racially charged statement, and local media outlets were forwarded a picture of the message by a resident Wednesday morning.

The church has denied rendering the message, and Lt. Frank Loop of the Floyd County Sheriff’s Department said vandals are believed to be responsible for changing the sign.

“The church didn’t even know about it until the first news station called them, because there’s not somebody there all the time,” Loop said.

“We don’t think it was anything other than some kids doing some vandalism. There was no evidence out there of any other targeted church or any hate crimes or anything like that.”

The church is located at 3465 Ind. 11. Multiple attempts to reach officials at the church were unsuccessful Wednesday.

Gary Schaar, the district superintendent of the South District of the United Methodist Church, said he spoke with the minister at Mt. Zion, and he did not know about the sign until contacted by media.

Loop said there were no suspects in the case Wednesday afternoon. Neither Loop or Schaar knew what the sign said before it was changed.



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