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Two suspects arrested in wake of vandalism at Freehold Borough church

FREEHOLD – Two men from Freehold Borough have been charged in connection with vandalism at the First United Methodist Church, 91 W. Main St., that resulted in damage being done to the organ in the local house of worship.

In a Jan. 28 press release, Freehold Borough Police Department Detective Sgt. Chris Colaner reported that two male residents of Freehold Borough, both of whom are 35 years old, have been arrested and charged in connection with the Jan. 21 incident at the church. He said both men have been charged with burglary, criminal mischief and unlawful entry of a structure.

Colaner said a third suspect has been identified and is being sought for questioning by police.

In an online statement, representatives of the First United Methodist Church wrote, “Now we have the names of the persons we are praying for. May they learn from their mistakes.”

According to the Rev. Wil Wilson, no injures occurred during the incident, no items were stolen and nothing else in the church was vandalized.

The organ was constructed by the J.P. Moller Organ Company of Hagerstown, Md., and dedicated in 1967. The organ consists of 677 pipes which range from about the size of a pencil to 10 feet long and 1 foot wide, according to Wilson.

No organ pipes or decorative pipes were stolen from the church, but the decorative pipes are considered to have been destroyed.

Despite the act of vandalism, church services were held as scheduled on Jan. 26. The services were attended by members and clergy from other congregations to show support for the First United Methodist Church.

“At 11 a.m., members and clergy from other congregations in the area streamed into our service to join us in support as we sang hymns together to close the service,” church representatives wrote. “A very moving experience. This tragic circumstance has only made our community stronger.”

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