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Three Batavia churches hit with anti-religious graffiti

An anti-religious vandal damaged three church buildings in Batavia overnight.

The person used black spray paint to scrawl "Religion is a mind virus." 

At Grace Baptist Church, 238 Vine St., the tag "NOZ" was added.

Also struck were the Assembly of God at 24 N. Spruce St. and City Church downtown on East Main Street.

The perpetrator, if ever caught, is facing possible prosecution for a hate crime under New York law, said Officer Jamie Givens, who is handling the investigation.

She said the other charges include graffiti and criminal mischief.

At City Church the phrase was sprayed on glass and was easily washed away by church staff.  At Grace Baptist the vandal damaged painted brick, and at Assembly of God, wood, which will be more costly and difficult to repair.

In all three locations, Givens said, the vandal used black spray paint and the handwriting matches in all three cases.

Nobody has reported seeing anything suspicious around the churches last night and there are no suspects or suspect descriptions available.

There were no cameras in the area that could be used to help identify the suspect.

There are no other reports so far of other churches being hit.

Givens said there's no apparent "rhyme or reason" as to why these three churches were targeted.

Anyone with information that may assist the investigation can contact Batavia PD at (585) 345-6350.

Doug Yeomans
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A hate crime? I think there should be a class of crimes called "pathetic crimes." Vandalism and petit larceny (pathetic crimes) should be handled with corporal punishment.

Ron C Welker
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Yes!!! right up there with vandalizing cemeteries, is it like how low can you go game?

Gary Spencer
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I Googled "Religion is a min virus" - it has it's own facebook page! with 8 likes! there is also an article by Richard Dawkins with the same concept. As strange as it may seem - I agree with Doug! Hate crime? Nah! But a public caining for ignorant morons would be appropiate!

Dave Olsen
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Restitution, catch the jerk who did this and have him clean that crap off at his/her own expense, and face the scorn of all the little old church ladies who will surely come by to make sure the perp. is working. Calling it a hate crime just feeds the fame (or infame?) of some punk.

Tim Miller
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I'm an atheist and I'll be damned (no pun intended) if I would vandalize a house of worship just because I disagreed with their viewpoint.

Sadly, these jokers and others (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/05/06/in-response-to-a...) don't seem to have the concept of basic civility within them...

Richard Richmond II
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My visceral reaction coincides with Doug’s; I’m not opposed to it.

That being unlikely and taking into account the offender/offender’s age/ages, past criminal history if any, etc; I would say a public apology to the congregations of the defiled churches might be appropriate.

This should be followed by hundreds of hour’s community service like cleaning up after the dogs and cats at the animal shelter or picking up trash in the city parks.

Jim Rosenbeck
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Hate Crime legislation just gave us one more inane law. The idea of punishing someone for what is in their head is simply ludicrous. Vandalizing someone else's property is the crime. How about if we just keep it simple. I agree with the sentiments above.

tom hunt
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It sounds to me that a couple of over zealous Philosopy 101 college students took to the streets with their new found knowledge.

Rex Lampke
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Intolerance is more of a mind virus than any religion

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