WEST COVINA (CBSLA.com) — Police are investigating vandalism at two West Covina churches as a possible hate crime Monday morning.

The vandalism was apparently committed overnight between Friday and Saturday and discovered the following morning by a church groundskeeper at St. Christopher Catholic Church, 629 S. Glendora Ave.

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Security video showed a masked man dressed in dark clothes spray-painting graffiti on the grounds of the church, and on statues of the Virgin Mary and Saint Christopher. Among the graffiti were references to various Biblical verses and the phrase “bow down to Jehovah,” West Covina police Cpl. Rudy Lopez said.

While the sight of the graffiti on revered statues was a shock to parishioners like Christopher Burns, who says the vandalism is hard to even look at.

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“We’re not angry, I think. The father wasn’t angry,” Burns said. “It actually brought us together with love.”

Services were not disturbed as the church and parish school were not disrupted. The church’s pastor, Rev. Joseph Doss, says he will begin cleaning away the graffiti but that the vandal should reach out to them to begin a dialogue.

“We read the same Bible, maybe the interpretation we can come to understand,” the reverend said. “It doesn’t have to come to this extreme.”

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