On February 24, 2017, three West Covina churches were found vandalized by graffiti painted on walls, sidewalks, signs and statues occurring sometime during the evening hours. St. Christopher’s Church, Christ Lutheran Church and West Covina Christian Church were targeted. On March 24, 2017, vandalism was again found at St Christopher’s Church by graffiti that appeared to match that of the incidents that occurred the month before. Several other vandalisms and arsons targeting churches continued in various parts of Southern California that appeared to be made by the same suspect.
On Friday, January 26, 2018, LAPD made an arrest of the suspect believed to be responsible for these crimes. The arrest came the day after an arsonist lit fire to the Resurrection Church in Boyle Heights. The suspect arrested has been identified as Christian Michael Garcia, 25 who was booked for arson and vandalism. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office filed 22 counts of vandalism, arson, and added the acts were also a hate crime. The arrest was made based on the collective efforts of all the police and fire agencies involved.
A press conference was held today headed by LA City Mayor Eric Garcetti announcing the arrest of the suspect. Representatives from all of the law enforcement and fire departments that were targeted by the suspect were also present at this conference, including West Covina Police Chief Marc Taylor, Captains Doug Murray and Richard Bell, Lieutenant Dennis Patton, Detective Sergeant Ken Davis, Detectives Tedde Stephen and Noel Flameno, Crime Analyst Erica Taylor and PIO Rudy Lopez.
Video of one of the incidents posted on the West Covina Police Department Social Media: https://www.facebook.com/WestCovinaPD/videos/1360642153956806/