HOUSTON – A Houston church community is praying that thieves and vandals stop making them a target.
For the second time in two months, someone has destroyed or stolen a Black Lives Matter banner from the front of Resurrection MCC Church on West 11th Street near the Heights. The most recent crime caught on surveillance camera.
“It’s one thing to have something taken or broken,” said Pastor Troy Threash. “But then to be able to watch the person.”
The church’s security video shows a man wearing what looks like a mask jumping the fence and then cutting away the banner’s clips. In just over a minute, the suspect is able to successfully remove the clips connecting the sign to the fence, walk back outside the fence and steal the sign.
“We’ve been targeted twice because we’re saying something that’s true and that people disagree with,” said Threash.
This isn’t the first time someone tampered with a Black Lives Matter sign at Resurrection MCC.
Back on July 25, the church received an angry voicemail from a woman.
“I cannot believe that I just drove by your church and you have the sign of Black Lives Matter,” the voice said.
The very next day someone cut the word “Black” from the banner. The church put the second banner days later only to see it stolen last Thursday.
But this church, which is dedicated to social justice and inclusion, says it will not be deterred. When the church learned of the recent theft, members pledged the funds to buy more signs.
“It matters enough to our congregation and it matters enough to our world right now to say: Black Lives Matter,” said Threash. “I think we’re gonna keep putting it up, and up and up, and up.”
The church says they have no idea if the voicemail was connected to the vandalism or the theft. However, the Houston Police Department is investigating.
The pastor is hoping the thief is caught and brought up on hate crime charges to prevent him from targeting the church again and perhaps escalating the behavior.