Churches in DeLand targeted in rash of vandalism, police say

Houses of worship have seen windows smashed, statues toppled

DELAND, Fla. – Windows have been smashed and statues toppled at churches in DeLand during a rash of vandalism, according to police.

Investigators said the windows were smashed between Nov. 25 and Nov. 27. They add that it does not appear the vandals attempted to break into the houses of worship.

The following churches were targeted:

  • St. Peter’s Catholic Church | 359 W. New York Ave., DeLand, Florida 32720
  • Tomoka Christian Church | 1106 E. Plymouth Ave., DeLand, Florida 32720
  • DeLand Wesleyan Church | 250 N. Hill Ave., DeLand, Florida 32720.

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After that, police said they received reports of the statues being toppled outside of churches.

Officers said the vandalism has been limited to the exteriors of the churches and no damage has been done to the interiors. Police added that the vandalism has been seen across the city.

No suspects have been identified. Anyone with information on the vandalism is asked to contact detectives at (386) 626-7430.

The pastor of Tomoka Christian Church of the Deland Campus got a call from a family on Nov. 26.

“It’s kind of hurtful and frustrating you know because this costs money,” Pastor Benjamin Brown Jr. said.

The family was preparing to celebrate a wedding anniversary at the church. When they walked in, they found shattered glass on the floor. That’s when they called the pastor to come to the church.

He found out three of the windows were smashed in.

For now, he’s covered the holes in the windows with what appears to be plastic bags.

We asked if him if he wanted the person or people responsible to face charges. He said he’d prefer to invite them to church.

“Come find out what we’re doing. We’re here to serve here we’re here to help you,” Pastor Brown said.

The pastor said they plan to get the windows fixed next week and he will get a full security system installed soon.

Deland police haven’t identified any suspects.

About the Author:

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.