Parishioners looking to attend mass at a landmark Roman Catholic in North Hollywood Wednesday stumbled upon a crime scene instead. The church's sanctuary was heavily damaged by an intruder early that morning, the Los Angeles police department said.
"I'm just so upset over what's going on in our world, what is going on in our world?" said Willow Hale, one of those parishioners. "What has our world come to?"
The vandalism at St. Charles Borromeo Church at Lankershim Boulevard and Moorpark Street occurred between 4:45 a.m. and 5:10 a.m., the LAPD reported. Police are trying to gather surveillance video and are investigating nearby transients as they try to find who may have been involved.
"There's significant property damage," said Sgt. Barry Montgomery of the LAPD. "It's kind of hard to describe. To be quite honest, it's really difficult to look at."
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The outside of the church also appeared to have fire damage, police said. Some trash fires were also reported in the neighborhood.
Parishioners stopped by the see the historic church, with many expressing disbelief and concern.
"Just pray for this person, who ever did this, that God can touch their heart," said parishioner Marina Ramirez.
Mass, canceled for the day, was expected to resume Thursday. Hale said the church has as many as eight masses on Sundays.
No arrests were reported as of Wednesday afternoon.
The church, built in Spanish colonial style with a soaring belltower, hosted its first mass in July 1938. It was the home church of famed comedian Bob Hope and his wife Dolores, and is also the home church of now-retired Cardinal Roger Mahone.
"It's a very special place, very special," said Angela Krisvoi, a reader at St. Charles.
Anyone with information was asked to call investigators at 213-486-7220.