An Atlanta-area church is offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to the capture of those responsible for trashing the sanctuary and hanging a noose from a balcony, NBC 11-Alive reports.
"The place that's most sacred to people of all faiths is their house of worship," said Pastor Ted Dunagan of Hope Baptist Church. "I'm outraged this happened on our church property."
He said he went to the Lawrenceville, Ga., church Friday night to check on the progress of construction work on the new activities building. What he discovered were eight broken windows, tile putty poured across the floor, a door jamb punched into the wall and a noose hanging from the balcony.
"That's the most insulting part of it all," he told the NBC affiliate. "I don't know what they meant by that, but it's insulting. It adds insult to injury."
The building has been under construction for the past 18 months, and it was almost done.
"We were hoping to have it ready for our Christmas play and our Christmas dinner, and this is just a setback," he said.
Dunagan and several church members of the church pooled their money to offer a reward for an arrest and conviction, he said. "We're not trying to get revenge, but if these people get away with this, what house of worship are they gonna vandalize next?" he asked.
Insurance will cover the cost of repairs, Dunagan said.