Phelps' property damaged

The Capital-Journal/December 15, 2008

Members of Westboro Baptist Church spent early Sunday morning cleaning up graffiti and broken glass left by vandals who damaged the congregation's property overnight in west Topeka.

Church spokeswoman Shirley Phelps-Roper said four windows were broken. Graffiti also was painted on the church's building, an outdoor basketball court and a tree.

A police report wasn't available Sunday night, but Phelps-Roper estimated vandals caused between $1,000 and $2,500 damage to the church, 3701 S.W. 12th.

Phelps-Roper said this weekend's vandalism targeted the northwest part of the church building.

A large rock was thrown through a church nursery window, she said. Vandals also spray-painted obscene messages and a swastika on the church's building and kicked in another window on the east side of the building.

She said the vandals apparently gained access to the church property through a small gate, which had been reinforced with additional locks by Sunday afternoon.

It was the second major act of vandalism this year at the Topeka church.

In early August, officials said arsonists set fire to a garage in the 1200 block of S.W. Orleans, on the east side of the church building, causing $10,000 in damage. No arrests have been made in that case.

The church has gained national attention for its anti-homosexual protests.

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