By Shawn Chitnis

THORNTON, Colo. (CBS4) – Police announced Wednesday they have three teenage boys in custody for vandalizing a church earlier in the week creating tens of thousands of dollars in damage just as the community comes together to repair this place of worship.

“You just don’t understand what type of rage is in a 15-year-old young man that would make him do this,” Pastor Renée Coventry said.

(credit: CBS)

Two suspects were arrested Tuesday while the third turned himself in Wednesday morning. All three boys live near the church and were on spring break, according to Thornton Police. They have not determined a motive in the case.

“We forgive them, they have to answer for their actions but we would hope that at this young and tender age, that it would really make them reflect on what they want to do,” Coventry said. “What they want to become, and the effect they want to have on the world.”

Pastor Renee Coventry (credit: CBS)

The community in Thornton has surrounded Destiny Outreach Ministries with its support after the suspects vandalized the church just days before Easter. Some people bought paint and started painting the walls – even painting walls that weren’t damaged.

On Tuesday, Pastor Coventry and co-pastor, Walter, were sweeping up shards of glass in their church, trying to figure out how they would recover.

“Yesterday when we walked in my husband and I were thinking we were going to be spending several days cleaning up, maybe 10 volunteers, and now to look around and say ‘It’s almost finished!'” Coventry said.

(credit: CBS)

“Excuse me, here’s a check for $500,” said a total stranger on Wednesday.

“Thank you! You’re so kind. Wow!” said Coventry.

They now have over $3,000 in donations and the support of complete strangers. A GoFundMe account has been set up to help the church rebuild.

(credit: CBS)

“We are just so overwhelmed by the response that has already come.”

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The church is still trying to replace the broken or destroyed instruments, including a grand piano. But the pastors are grateful for the time, money, and support they have already received. Someone from another faith even visited the church to condemn the vandalism and acknowledge the need for a safe space for all religions.

“It’s our responsibility as American citizens to protect all houses of worship,” Coventry said the man told her.

Shawn Chitnis reports for CBS4 News at 10 on weekends and CBS4 News at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. throughout the week. Email him story ideas at and connect with him on Twitter or Facebook.


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