Vandals Flood Church, Damage Offices of Several Nonprofits

"Just trying to make sense of it, but we can't," church official says.

Long Beach police are investigating a vandalism incident that left a church flooded, soaking carpets and damaging equipment.

The incident happened sometime late Saturday night or early Sunday morning, according to police.

The vandals broke into a maintenance shed at The Neighborhood Church on the 3400 block of San Anseline Ave, police said Tuesday. The vandals stole several water hoses, put them through windows and turned on the water.

Several non-profit groups, including New Hope Grief Support Community, lease space from the church. Volunteers spent much of Tuesday cleaning up as several big fans circulated air to dry out the carpet.

"I came in and just saw an incredible amount of water, really," said John Matlock of New Hope Grief Support Community, who found out about the incident Sunday.

"Just trying to make sense of it, but we can't," he said. "Hard to imagine why organizations like this would be targeted."

One of the hoses was placed directly into Barbara Adams' office window on the second floor.

"It was literally a pool," said Adams, who founded the Center for Psychological Health, which provides counseling services for little or no cost.

Mary Leidner, who teaches senior adult Sunday school at the church, helped clean up the mess.

"I was almost in tears when I came Sunday morning," she said.

The building had been vandalized with spray paint a few weeks ago, according to Leidner. It is unclear whether the two incidents were connected, according to Long Beach police, who are investigating the weekend incident as an act of vandalism.

"At this time, we don't have anyone in custody to explore their motive or if they had any bias intent," said Marlene Arrona, spokesperson for the police department.

"So we are hopeful someone will come forward with information," she said.

When asked whether she had hoped police catch the vandals, Leidner responded with a smile.

"It would be nice, but even if they don't, God is in control," she said. "And he's going to catch them sooner or later. They're going to have to face him."

The church does have an alarm system, but no surveillance cameras. Insurance adjusters had planned on working with the church this week to determine total cost of damages.

If you would like to help, you can make a donation to: The Neighborhood Church 3435 San Anseline Ave., Long Beach, CA 90808. Put in the memo line: "Vandalism recovery."

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