Several people broke into a historic African American church in Maryland last month and left damage behind, Montgomery County police said.
About 11 p.m. Nov. 25, the group forced its way into Scotland AME Zion Church in Potomac and vandalized property, police said.
“It’s very disheartening, and I hope somewhere down the line they get it and figure out it’s very disrespectful, just wrong,” church trustee Alan Heard said.
African Americans built the church in the early 1900s.
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“The awareness that the community – some members of the community – would see it as insignificant when there is so much history there,” Pastor Dr. Evalina Huggins said.
The church, which is on the historic register, was severely damaged by a flood in 2019 and deemed unsafe. The building was shored up and awaits an extensive rebuild and renovation.
“This place was built on the backs of people,” Heard said. “It’s just our space, and we feel very, very, very violated by what has happened.”
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Police do not believe the vandalism was a hate crime.
Anyone with information about the crime should call police at 240-773-6710 or 240-773-TIPS or Crime Solvers of Montgomery County at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477). A reward of up to $10,000 is available for information leading to arrests.