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ADVENTIST CHURCH VANDALIZED SEVERAL TIMES, DEACON REPORTS

Vandals have hit the Provo Seventh-day Adventist Church several times in recent months, causing expensive damage, a church leader said.

"We have repaired broken windows, damaged sprinklers, painted over graffiti, cleaned up messes, replaced outdoor lighting and claimed insurance money for stolen items," said Brad E. Walton, head deacon for the congregation. The church, 255 S. 700 East, has spent nearly $700 to repair broken sprinklers and lines, he said.Neighbors have called Provo police on several occasions because of early morning drinking parties and loud music in the church parking lot.

"These children and teenagers kick and break off our sprinklers, drive vehicles on our lawn - breaking sprinkler pipes and leaving 6-inch paths in the lawn," Walton said.

During May and June, the sprinkler system was damaged three times.

Vandals also broke into the church and carved initials into plasterboard walls, damaged the pulpit Bible and scattered hymnals and other items throughout the building, he said. A stereo and classroom items were stolen.

Provo Police Capt. Duane Fraser said there are no outstanding vandalism cases pending at the church. But, "I know they've had their share over the years," he said.

Walton said the church's budget has taken a beating because of the vandalism.

"Continually repairing this damage has really set our local budget back," he said. The Adventist international organization does not subsidize the Provo congregation for building and grounds maintenance. Church volunteers maintain the yard and building.

The church won a Provo City Beautification Award several years ago but, Walton said, the vandalism has caused flowers and grass to die.