Man accused of vandalizing 3 local churches

Man accused of vandalizing 3 local churches

PITTSBURGH — A man is facing charges after police say he vandalized churches in Mt. Lebanon.

Tristan Crooks, 21, is accused of vandalizing three churches on Washington Road earlier this week.

Since the vandalism spree, the priest of Saint Bernard's Catholic Church said they took immediate action.

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Father Ben Barr says the church kept everyone informed after they realized their property got vandalized.

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"We also essentially put the campus on lockdown. That was also with the advice of the Mount Lebanon police," Barr said.

Church officials say they took those steps out of an abundance of caution, but they weren't the only victim of vandalism.

Police say Crooks broke the glass on the door of Mount Lebanon Evangelical Presbyterian Church using a plated weight. A court document says he also broke a window and left a tube of white acrylic paint behind.

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The Mt. Lebanon United Methodist Church was also vandalized. Police say he went up to the church intercom and said he “wanted to speak to the pedophiles."

Crooks is also accused of using a grave marker from the cemetery to break the windows. Police also found charred carpeting and a burned Kleenex box inside the church.

At Saint Bernard, surveillance footage showed Crooks displaying the middle finger at the camera. The school also had some damage.

"We simply had one window broken. A weight was thrown at the window. It actually didn’t go through both windows," Barr said.

Police say the surveillance video helped them track down Crooks.

"We have a rather extensive surveillance system here, and so they were hoping to be able to use our surveillance to positively identify the individual," Barr said.

Barr says after this incident, he hopes Crooks gets the help he needs.