Theft, vandalism, arson: Ukrainian Catholic churches near Leduc targeted twice this month
Editor’s Note: The RCMP news releases listed the same church name for both crimes, however Global News has since learned two separate churches with similar names were involved.
RCMP south of Edmonton are investigating two separate crimes that happened at Ukrainian Catholic churches in Leduc County this month.
Police said the Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church, located east of Nisku and south of Highway 19 on Range Road 260, was targeted last week.
Leduc RCMP said sometime between Tuesday, Oct. 23, and Thursday, Oct. 25, someone attempted to steal the church bell by pulling it from the bell tower.
Police said as a result of the attempted theft, the bell tower sustained extensive damage. The suspect, or suspects, also entered the country church and stole a candelabra and a cross.
The break-in and theft happened two weeks after a fire at another nearby church with the same name in the town of Calmar.
RCMP, Leduc County and Calmar Fire Services responded on Sunday, Oct. 7 at 2:20 a.m. to a fire at a free-standing bell tower outside the Church of the Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church. Police said the fire was deliberately started with an accelerant.
The fire destroyed the bell tower, leaving behind a concrete pad.
“We need your assistance with reporting anything you believe was suspicious around this location on this date at this time,” Leduc RCMP Const. Bridget Morla said. No one was injured in the arson.
The Ukrainian Eparchy in Edmonton confirmed the arson was at its church in Calmar. The same building was vandalized in 2011. Several sacred items at the Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church were damaged during that incident, including a crucifix, a wooden tabernacle, candle holder, and chandelier. Pages were also ripped from an ornate Bible.
Anyone with information about both crimes is asked to call the Leduc RCMP at 780-980-7267, or submit a tip anonymously through Crime Stoppers by phone at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or online.
There have been no charges in either case.
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