Golden Valley church sees rise in vandalism, theft

St. Margaret Mary Church near Golden Valley Road and Theodore Wirth Parkway has been a spiritual home for the local Catholic community for more than 75 years.

But lately, it has been on the receiving end of some rather un-Christian-like behavior.

"It's mind-blowing. I don't know if I can come up with another word. Just mind-blowing. Just a lot of things that you don't wouldn't expect happening at a church," said Golden Valley Police Chief Virgil Green.

Golden Valley Police say over the last couple of months, they've received more than 40 calls reporting everything from random people partying on church grounds and on the roof of the school next door to people having sex in cars in the parking lot in broad daylight.

Police say vandals even stripped the copper from the church's air conditioning unit and stole the church's security cameras, making it more difficult to identify who is responsible.

"You just got a generation of people who just don't have that much respect for any church or any faith-based organization. This is just an area where people feel like they can come and congregate and kind of do whatever they want to do. And they don't think that the church is going to say anything about it," said Chief Green.

Officials at Nasha Shkola, the K-8 Russian language charter school attached to the church, say they often find stolen cars and belongings tossed from stolen cars on their premises. 

Last fall, a staff member's car was also stolen in the middle of the day and there have also been reports of cars racing in the grass while the students are out for recess.

"Gives a great sense of concern and concern, primarily about the safety of the students. and how safe is this neighborhood," said Nasha Shkola School Director Yelena Hardcopf.

Golden Valley Police say they are stepping up patrols in the area.

They are also asking anyone who sees suspicious behavior on the property to call 911.

"It's a beautiful neighborhood. It's a beautiful part of town. It just would be nice if we all kind of be a little bit more responsible and more vigilant and kind of help the police also to keep it safe as well," said Hardcopf.