Small metro church spends thousands to replace vandalized signs twice

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JACKSON COUNTY, Mo. -- A Jackson County church replaced their sign again after they say it's been stolen and vandalized.

East Side Church, on the border of Kansas City and Independence, said twice someone in their neighborhood has destroyed their sign, and it's cost them a lot of money. The church is on Blue Ridge Boulevard near E. 27th Street.

"This is the third sign in about a year and a half that we’ve had to put up, and we don’t understand why they want to tear up church property," caretaker Ken Griswold said.

The small congregation of about 20 people has paid more than $3,000 to replace it twice. The first time they had it remade out of wood and painted by a professional.

"It’s hard for them to get money to replace things," Griswold said. "So we’d have to have a large congregation to really fend off the damage that’s been done. So we have a lot of rummage sales and bake sales trying to raise the money for it."

They said the person who did it, who lives in the neighborhood, destroyed it with a crowbar and broke it into pieces in the middle of the night.

"About one o’clock in the morning, and one of our nieces told us she heard some banging noise," Griswold said. "So I came outside and looked, and I didn’t see anything. Our other neighbors called me, and they were witness to this neighbor’s son beating up our sign. So we took that sign down, and we put up another one, and they just recently tore that one up, so now we have this one. We made this one out of steel, so we hope it doesn’t come apart so easy."

Now they have replaced it with metal, and put the new one up about two weeks ago, hoping if someone tries to destroy it again they, or their neighbors, will be able to hear it right away.

The biggest problem they said they're having is their property parcel is partially on Independence property and partially on KCMO.

The land division is causing some confusion for police departments. They say Independence police have referred them to KCPD, and KCPD sent them back to Independence.

"It just makes me angry that we can't get any protection," Griswold said. "This is a church. We're not causing problems with anybody. We just want to live in peace and practice our religion quietly. It's hard to do when you don't know if you're gong to come in and every day something is destroyed or broken or painted -- it's frustrating."

Both Independence and KC police are now looking into the issue after phone calls from FOX4.

Independence police documented they have had issues with the person the church suspects before. Back in November police were called to the area for a disturbance, and back in September for the sign being stolen.

KCPD said they're hoping to also find some resolution for the church if they can. They told FOX4 they will be communicating with their community officers and neighborhood housing services who focus on disputes between neighbors.

The church said they are not asking for money -- just asking for the damage to stop.

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