Helena, MT – Vandals plastered the historic Cathedral of Saint Helena with antifa symbols and calls to murder law enforcement officers on Sunday night.
Photos of the iconic 113-year-old cathedral showed the outer walls covered in spray-painted antifa insignia and improperly-rendered pentagrams, as well as messages like “F—k 12” and “Kill the cops.”
“God is Dead,” another message read.
Helena Police Department (HPD) Lieutenant Cory Bailey said the cathedral was one of many locations that were vandalized in the state capital on Sunday night.
“In the last 24 hours, Officers have responded to numerous complaints concerning vehicles and buildings being spray painted with symbols and words,” Lt. Bailey told The Police Tribune. “Officers are still responding to calls for service concerning the criminal mischief.”
The exact number of vehicles and buildings that were targeted is unclear, Lt. Bailey said.
Investigators estimated the damage to be over $10,000 as of Tuesday morning, the HPD said in a Facebook post.
The investigation into the widespread vandalism remains ongoing.
Cathedral of Saint Helena maintenance worker Charles Dyce shook his head in disbelief as he viewed the damage to the historic building on Monday morning, the Helena Independent Record reported.
“It’s ridiculous. Nobody has any respect,” Dyce told the paper. “My feeling is the people inside is what builds these churches. People should have respect for everyone else.”
Helena resident Chad Christiansen said he spotted the vandalism while out running errands on Monday morning.
“It doesn’t matter what your religious beliefs are,” he told the Helena Independent Record. “You don’t disrespect a sacred place like this.”
Archdiocese of Helena Communications Director Dan Bartleson said removing the graffiti and repairing the cathedral is a delicate process that will take some time, according to the paper.
The wood and stone the vandals damaged are well over a century old and must be carefully restored to make sure it is not further damage, Bartleson said.
Vehicles belonging to residents and employees of the Touchmark Retirement Community on Saddle Drive were also damaged by the vandals, KTVH reported.
“We are shocked and saddened that this vandalism has happened not only at a retirement community but throughout the city,” Touchmark Executive Director Joseph May told KTVH in a statement. “We are thankful for the work of the police and hope that they successfully catch those responsible for this soon.”