Church a victim of 'odd' vandalism

Member mystified by lawn ornaments

Jason Hewlett / Kamloops Daily News
March 25, 2013 01:00 AM

Brian Arnold, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, says 68 lawn ornaments "just showed up" at the church on Friday morning.

Stolen cars and sleeping transients is one thing, but the discovery of 68 lawn ornaments behind the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Brocklehurst is a new one for churchgoers.

Brian Arnold, a member of the congregation, keeps an eye on the Parkcrest Avenue church after hours. He said the ornaments weren't there Thursday night but had popped up by Friday morning.

"They just showed up," Arnold said Saturday.

The ornaments were stashed at the back of the church, which is secluded from view of the road and Parkcrest elementary across the street.

Included among the grouping is a fire truck, light house, couples in swings, lawn gnomes of various size and a pair of legs arranged so they look like someone is buried head first in the ground.

"Right in front of our back door they put a large, ceramic statue of an angel and a Buddha," said Arnold. "I'm sure somebody is missing them. There's some quite expensive ones."

Arnold said churchgoers have found stolen cars parked in the back lot and encountered homeless people asleep near a shed. This is the first time a collection of lawn ornaments has appeared.

Vandalism is rare, however. He said the church is a shelter for Parkcrest elementary students in the event of an emergency. He believes that acts as a deterrent.

"We get the odd little piece of vandalism, but that's it," said Arnold.

He wouldn't be surprised if the prank is the work of teens.

"Or maybe bored seniors," he joked.

Kamloops-Thompson school board vice-chairwoman Kathleen Karpuk has heard of similar pranks in other communities. Sometimes the culprits are university students, she said.

Of course, there's the popular gag of stealing a lawn gnome and returning it a year later with pictures of it taken from around the world, said Karpuk.

Being spring break, it's not uncommon for vandalism to increase at neighbourhood schools. Karpuk said that hasn't been the case so far this year, at least as far as school trustees are aware.

Arnold packed the ornaments in the church shed Saturday afternoon for safekeeping. People missing ornaments from their property are asked to phone Arnold at 250-819-1077.

He reported the incident to RCMP. An official with the Mounties could not be reached for comment.

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