Members hope for end to vandalism after suspect arrested at Kansas City church

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s the latest turn in an ongoing church vandalism case.

After months of broken windows and even an attempted arson case, police made an arrest Wednesday night at South Broadland Presbyterian Church.

Police arrested 24-year-old Chidera Okolo who was charged with assault and armed criminal action.

Members at South Broadland said they hope this is the end of a long and drawn out saga of vandalism that started in November.

“Kudos to the Kansas City Police Department for taking a step to help us find the person. Staking out the place and being here, and they were here probably maybe three or four nights before it happened,” said Darron Story, ruling elder at the church.

KCPD reportedly held a stakeout. One officer watching surveillance cameras from inside the church with another positioned outside.

Okolo was first seen on surveillance video, according to court documents, carrying a baseball bat as he broke more windows.

As officers tried to arrest Okolo, they said he used the bat to hit one of the officers two times. Police used a Taser to take the suspect into custody.

Story said the best thing they can do is pray for the suspect, who has no connection to the church and no known criminal history.

“The last thing that we can do is discard him even though he has done these things. We will not discard him. I hope — this may be fool’s gold — that maybe at someday he can sit down with us after whatever happens, happens,” Story said.

“As people of faith, we have to be understanding that there’s consequences to actions. We still need to lift him up. We need to be praying for him and trying to be there for him, as strange as that may sound.”

Story said the church is thankful for the community members who supported them with donations and time.

Okolo is currently in the Jackson County Detention Center with a $10,000 bond. If found guilty, he could face anywhere from 5-15 years in prison.

“We feel more secure. We hope this is an isolated incident. This church is a big part of this community. It’s hard to think there may be other people out there who feel the same way,” Story said. “It is promising.”

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