For weeks, parishioners of a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender-friendly church in Minnesota have arrived on Sundays and found their building covered in offensive anti-gay graffiti and broken eggs. But the congregation may be sleeping easier this week now that the man behind the vandalism was caught red-handed and confessed.
Surveillance footage showed Lonny Lloyd Roseland, of Maple Grove, throwing eggs at the Pilgrims United Church of Christ in late July, reports local CBS affiliate WCCO. Roseland, who uses a wheelchair, has been charged with third-degree damage to property and disorderly conduct.
This latest instance of anti-gay vandalism, which occurred on July 28, was the fourth such case allegedly perpetrated by Roseland since June 2, according to WCCO. On that first occasion, Roseland threw eggs at the church and wrote "church of Soddom and Gomorrah" on its walls, according to local NBC affiliate KARE 11.
"We are a very progressive voice in Maple Grove," Pilgrims United Church of Christ Pastor Robin Raudabaugh told KARE 11 at the time. "This was a very hate-filled act."
The homophobic vandalism continued throughout the month of June, leaving at least one church member worried it was escalating, according to Minnesota's StarTribune.
The break in the case came after police installed the surveillance camera outside the church on July 26, according to WCCO. When Roseland returned with eggs and crayons on July 28, the vandal and his handiwork were candidly recorded, leading to his arrest.
Even after Roseland admitted to committing the crimes, members of the church hesitated to condemn their harasser and said instead they were pleased the issue was dealt with in a timely manner.
"The relatively quick resolution of these hateful acts gives us renewed hope," said church member Steve Hepokoski, according to the United Church of Christ website.
(Hat tip, Queerty)