FBI offers reward for information on Melbourne church vandals


  • Photo via Florida Today

The FBI is offering $5,000 for any identifying information on the people who have vandalized two Melbourne, Florida, churches, including a predominantly black congregation which was targeted three times with spray-painted swastikas and other messages, Florida Today reports.

The Brevard County FBI office told the newspaper the churches were "victims of hate crimes, including arson, burglary, grand theft and vandalism.” The Central Baptist Church was graffitied, and New Shiloh Christian Center was targeted earlier this year and again in July.

According to officials, vandals graffitied hate-fueled language and spray-painted a noose on a church van. Vandals also stole a bronze eagle statue, used an axe to hack their way through boarded areas of the church and caused $5,000 in damages to a storage room. Most chilling to the congregation was a message left on the fender of an old pickup that was rolled into a pool of water, saying “SS. Charleston 2.” Police believe the writing could be a reference to he recent mass killing of nine people at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Carolina.