Chapel vandalized
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Vandals broke into the historical chapel at Evergreen Cemetery on Saturday night and destroyed the stained glass on one of the doors. They stole the surveillance camera from the porch, but failed to see the one that was in the sanctuary. Craig Carter, cemetery technician talks to Chris Hurd, with El Paso County Facilities, (right to left) about doing fixes on the chapel on Monday, November 26, 2018. (Photo by Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette)Vandals broke into the historical chapel at Evergreen Cemetery on Nov. 25 and destroyed the stained glass on one of the doors. Cemetery technician Craig Carter, right, talks to Chris Hurd, with El Paso County Facilities, about doing fixes on the chapel last month . This was the second time in three years that the chapel was vandalized.

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Police are asking the public to help identify four people caught on tape burglarizing the Evergreen Cemetery Chapel during Thanksgiving weekend.

The video shows the four people walking around the inside of the chapel with lanterns. They apparently left when they noticed the camera in a top corner of the building.

The battery-powered lanterns were later found broken, alongside a brick inside the chapel, a cemetery technician said. A cemetery visitor discovered the damage early Nov. 25.

The vandals appeared to have kicked in the back bathroom door and tore a security camera from the front entrance of the fabled, 109-year-old building, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, said Jody Sanchez-Skamarak, the cemetery’s supervisor. They apparently used a piece of gutter from the back of the chapel to break the camera, she said.

They also smashed a stained-glass window, and ripping out the camera fried the building’s DVR system, Sanchez-Skamarak said. The DVR cost about $350 to replace, and two cameras were donated.

The stained glass could be the most expensive part to replace, she said. It costs about $100 per square inch, and the pane that was shattered is about 2 feet by 4 feet. The broken glass also scratched the wood floor.

“Not a lot of people do it (repair stained glass), and because the chapel is a historical building, we want to make sure that we don’t do anything that would change that standing with the state,” Sanchez-Skamarak said.

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This was the second time in three years that the chapel was vandalized. In 2015, several teenagers broke open the chapel’s back door and an exterior bathroom door, causing several hundred dollars in damage.

As a result of the latest break-in, the building will get an alarm system.

“It’s troublesome that people would just go in and break in for no apparent reason,” Sanchez-Skamarak said

“I think they were probably looking for things to take, from what I could see from the video myself. The thing is, there’s nothing of great value that is in the chapel. I think they probably thought there might be.”

Anyone with information is asked to call police at 444-7000. Those who want to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 634-7867 or 1-800-222-8477.

Liz Forster is a general assignment reporter with a focus on environment and public safety. She is a Colorado College graduate, avid hiker and skier, and sweet potato enthusiast. Liz joined The Gazette in June 2017.

Ellie is a crime and breaking news reporter. She's a proud Midwesterner, stationery hoarder and Earl Grey tea enthusiast. After interning at The Gazette in 2015, she joined the newspaper's staff in 2016.

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