Windsor

Window-smashing incident at Walkerville Coptic church leaves members feeling threatened

About 20 windows at the St. Mary and St. Moses Coptic Orthodox Church are broken, leaving members of the congregation asking one question — why?

A 57-year-old suspect has been arrested but witnesses say there are more people involved

Simon Yacoub, left, and his father, Samir Yacoub are unable to figure out why someone would smash about 20 windows of the Walkerville church they call "a second home." (Dale Molnar/CBC)

About 20 windows at the St. Mary and St. Moses Coptic Orthodox Church are broken, leaving members of the congregation asking one question — why?

Windsor police arrived at the church Friday at 11 p.m. where they arrested and charged a 57-year-old male suspect with mischief over $5,000.

"We feel very threatened right now ... We need to know who these people are and what's the motive," congregation member Samir Yacoub said.

Samir Yacoub points to an opening of the fence where he thinks the suspects may have made their way on to church property. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

Extreme damage

This is not the first time the Coptic church has experienced break-ins and vandalism, but Yacoub said it has never been this bad.

"He broke all the barriers for the basement on both sides of the church. He went to the back. He did the same to the garage doors and the front door."

But according to Yacoub, people within the church saw more than just a sole suspect.

"There were a group of people — at least three of them ... The priest saw these people but he was so terrified, he couldn't even open the door."

Simon Yacoub walks by a series of boarded-up windows. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

Like a second home

Yacoub's son, Simon, considers the Coptic church to a second home for him and his family. The attack has left him completely shocked.

"I was very sad to hear this ... We're not sure what the motive was," he said.

Simon remembers exiting a meeting around 10 p.m. The report from Windsor police shows the property damage occurred within the hour.

"The only people that were here was the priest and a man who lives here. None of the other congregation was here."

No one seems to know the St. Mary & St. Joseph Coptic Orthodox Church in Walkerville has been the target of repeated vandalism. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

Moving forward

The Yacoub family said they will be consulting with their insurance company and Windsor police to figure out what to do next.

"We don't want to jump to any conclusions [of a hate crime] ... Here in Canada, it's a peaceful country. But I don't know why here in Windsor, this keeps happening to us," Samir said.

with files from the CBC's Dale Molnar

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