Mayesville, SC (WLTX) - Vandals targeted a church in Sumter over the weekend, spray painting satanic symbols and phrases all over the property. Church members say when they saw the extent of the satanic symbols plastered all around the building, it broke their hearts. In fact, they said it was the worst case of vandalism this church had ever seen.
"We don't understand the motive and we don't understand how to stop it," said church member Louise Bevins. "We fight this continuously."
A church member was driving past Salem Black River Presbyterian Church when he noticed the spray paint.
"Symbols and just lots of trashy words," Bevins said, "'Heil Hitler' and 'go to ****,' it was the worse we've had. It really was the worse we've had."
Bevins says it was everywhere.
"The symbols were the ones that really... it means something to them that I don't understand," Bevins said.
Bevins said the church members spent hours trying to clean it off, but there are still traces of it left.
"They worked all day," Bevins said.
The Sumter County Sheriff's Department says the 171 year old building is always picked on, saying:
"This time of year through Halloween, activity starts to pick up here and other locations that are considered 'spooky' or very remote."
"People think it's haunted, it's not haunted that's ridiculous," Bevins said.
To Bevins, this church is home and they'll continue to guard it as best they can.
"I grew up in this area," Bevins said. "You live on and hope for the best."
The damage was estimated to be $3000. Bevins says they do have outside cameras and church members hope it will be able to pick up something. The Sumter County Sheriff's Department is investigating, and says any trespassers at the location will be immediately arrested, with their vehicle towed.