Odenton church is vandalized three suspects are arrested

July 22, 1996|By Andrea Siegel | Andrea Siegel,SUN STAFF

Three men have been arrested and charged with vandalizing St. John's African Methodist Episcopal Church in Odenton, a black congregation, yesterday.

"There was no evidence at the scene to indicate this was a racial incident," said Jeff Kelly, Anne Arundel County police spokesman. "There is no evidence to indicate that they knew this was a black church."

He said he could not release information about a motive.

St. John's, a turn-of-the-century structure tucked away on Conway Road, was broken into about 2: 30 a.m., police reported. A basement door and jamb were broken, along with chairs and tables. A wall had a large hole punched in it.

Three suspects were arrested minutes later about two miles from the church, apparently after one of them placed a 911 call from the church but hung up as it was answered, police said.

Police identified the suspects as Adam Sisk, 20, and Shane Sisk, 25, both of the 14300 block of Mount Oak Road, Mitchellville; and Kirk Rogers, 21, of the 400 block of Lankford Road, Harwood. They were charged with breaking and entering and destruction of property. A District Court commissioner set bail at $15,000 each. They were sent to the county jail in lieu of bail yesterday afternoon.

Church officials said vandalism of the building had ended about four years ago, after they worked with police to improve security. They said they had no reason to believe that yesterday's vandalism was inspired by the recent wave of suspicious fires at Southern black churches, but were uneasy.

"I don't know," said the pastor, the Rev. Samuel Whittaker. "I just hope it isn't."

Pub Date: 7/22/96

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