A 34-year-old Smithfield man has been charged with breaking into and vandalizing the Logan Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Tuesday.
“He basically just said that he’s upset with the church,” said Logan Police Capt. Curtis Hooley. “He was kind of rambling." Police later released a statement that the man “was upset because it was Christmas and he couldn’t see his children and no LDS girls would date him.”
The man was charged in First District Court on Thursday with burglary, a third-degree felony; and criminal mischief, a second-degree felony.
Police were alerted shortly before 3:30 a.m. on Tuesday that windows had been broken at the annex to the temple, where members enter the building. According to church spokeswoman Irene Caso, the man “used an ax to damage the exterior” of the temple before breaking into the building.
When officers arrived, they entered and found damage on the first and second floors of the building, Hooley said, including “paintings torn off the walls” and doors that appear to have been pounded on with a fire extinguisher, which was sprayed inside the temple.
“There are several things that have been damaged,” Hooley said.
According to a probable cause statement, in addition to the paintings that were “torn off the wall and damaged," there were “multiple artificial plants" damaged, curtains were “torn down," and an ax was “smashed through a mirror and stuck into the wall.” Police estimated the cost of the damage at more than $5,000.
Police believed the crime scene had been cleared and left the temple at about 8:30 a.m. At 8:30 a.m., police were notified that the vandal was believed to have locked himself in a room in the building; they returned and arrested him.
“It’s a little disturbing when someone attacks a religious building the day before Christmas,” Hooley said.
The Logan Temple re-opened on Thursday.
Latter-day Saints consider temples “Houses of the Lord," places where devout members participate in their faith’s highest rites, including eternal marriages.