Man arrested after allegedly vandalizing Ogden church, burning Bible

Bible. Photo: Joyfruit/Pixabay

OGDEN, Utah, March 19, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — A man has been arrested after he allegedly vandalized an Ogden church and burned a Bible.

A probable cause statement from the 2nd District Court of Weber County said Caleb Papaa Stanley, 23, is facing charges of:

  • Burglary, a third-degree felony
  • Criminal mischief, a third-degree felony
  • Arson, a class A misdemeanor
  • Theft, a class B misdemeanor

On Thursday at approximately 8:25 p.m., the arresting officer responded to a church in the area of 3000 Wall Ave. in reference to a disturbance caused by Stanley.

A person connected with the church said Stanley entered the building by breaking the window to the woman’s restroom.

“The church runs north to south with the entry on the north side of the church,” the statement said. “The sanctuary is located on the south side of the church has raised floor where the altar is located. On the floor the sanctuary, ‘God’ had been written in black spray paint. There was a large black dot underneath the word with the spray paint can sitting in the middle of the dot. Just under the dot, a sideways eight was sprayed in the same black paint. The spray paint was still wet to the touch.”

There was a black line of spray paint on the podium, and the letter “S” painted on the west side of the sanctuary. The cost to fix that damage has been estimated at $1,000.

“The church has a vestibule to the east of the nave that contains an exterior door and stairs to office space above the church,” the statement said. “Next to the exterior door, a five-pointed star within a circle had been spray-painted on the floor. Gold silk fabric was draped over the symbol and covered in liquid. There was an open Bible lying next to the symbol.”

The gold silk fabric had been decorating the sanctuary, the person connected with the church said.

The area was soaked with a clear liquid found to be water-based thinner for the paint. The Bible was soaked in thinner as were several doors. The center pages of the Bible had been torn out and burned, the statement said. Charred fragments of the Bible were scattered over the floor and led into the nave.

The upstairs office had also been broken into. The door handle had been removed from the door and the door soaked in the water-based thinner, the statement said, adding Stanley had kicked the door and shattered the door frame. A Yamaha four-microphone mixer had been stolen from the church.

After being read his Miranda rights, Stanley admitted to entering the church unlawfully, breaking into an office and attempting to steal items.

“Caleb admitted to spray painting the floor and attempting to burn a Bible,” the statement said. “Caleb said he had originally entered the church to feel safe, but then started feeling uncomfortable after being inside for a while. Caleb said he committed the various crimes in an attempt to make things right.”

Based on the physical evidence, Stanley intended to create a larger fire by soaking Bibles in the clear liquid then igniting them, the statement said.

“Caleb admitted that his action would cause fear to those wanting to worship at the church,” the statement said.

Stanley was also arrested for criminal trespass on Tuesday.

He was transported to Weber County Jail, where he is being held without bail.


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