Church tagging shocks all
A youth gang on a tagging spree have left "disturbing" messages on a church.
In the early hours of Sunday morning they covered St Joseph's Church in Helensville and its surrounding buildings with tags, curses and insults to God and the police.
Parish council chairman John Smith says he was shocked when he saw the scale of the vandalism.
He says it seems the church, on the corner of Kowhai St and Puriri St, may have been targeted as the gang seemed to know all the buildings affiliated to it.
All four sides of the church were spray painted with green and black paint, along with the church sign, centre, school, priest's garage, cars in the car park and the caretaker's house across the road.
Mr Smith has been with the church since he started at its convent school in 1949. He says it is the worst thing to happen there in that time.
"Not very nice at all - we are lucky it cleaned up as it did - I didn't expect it to," Mr Smith says.
It took petrol to cut through the spray paint, Orewa resident Leanne McFarland says.
She and her family had celebrated the wedding of her sister-in-law at the church the day before.
They left their cars there overnight.
When they returned they saw the spray paint on the buildings and then found it on their cars.
"Every single wall around the church was tagged. The sign was tagged, my car was tagged, my brother-law's car had been tagged.
"But mine was actually quite disturbing, it had some pretty wicked cursing on it."
The paint came easily off the cars but the sight of the church was too shocking to ignore, Ms McFarland says.
"We thought it was that disturbing that people didn't need to be driving past and seeing it.
"Why on earth would they go and do it to a church?
"It is pretty disgusting really." She took photos of the tags before they were removed and sent them to Crimestoppers.
"Hopefully someone gets caught for it," she says.
Some of the graffiti suggested the taggers have a west coast affiliation to a central Auckland street gang, but police do not believe this is the case.
Police are investigating to see if the tags are on Auckland Council's graffiti management database, to help identify the offenders.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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