0

Church offering reward after vandalism

LAWRENCEVILLE -- A local church congregation is offering a reward for information after vandals busted windows out of a building.

The Rev. Tim Dunagan of New Hope Baptist Church said he thinks he interupted the crime when he drove to the church to check on the construction of a new fellowship hall.

Every piece of glass was broken out of the windows, except for one final pane that was partially broken, he said, and holes had been knocked in the walls. Chairs had also been tossed out the windows. He said the incident may be gang-related.

The damage likely amounts to several thousand dollars, Dunagan said, and sets back the building's opening, which leaders had hoped would be in time for the church's Christmas play next month.

"It definitely hinders us," Dunagan said. "It not only hurts us financially, but it insults us. ... It upsets our whole church."

The vandalism was reported to Gwinnett County Police, and the church is offering the $2,500 reward for information that would lead to an arrest and conviction.

"I'm hoping somebody can come forward, and these people will be held accountable," Dunagan said, adding that he wanted to find the vandals before another church or home is victimized. "It disturbs me. ... New Hope Road used to be the best place in the world to live. You didn't have to lock your door."