FORT WORTH, Texas - A Fort Worth church is continuing its work to help the homeless despite vandals destroying much of its building and even trying to set it on fire over the weekend.
St. Stephen Presbyterian Church, which is near the TCU campus, was forced to cancel Sunday morning services because of the fire.
Surveillance video shows several people breaking into the building. Windows were smashed, furniture and electronics were thrown around and a fire left a significant amount of damage.
Police have arrested one person in connection with the vandalism. Jonathan Jimenez, 21, is being held for outstanding warrants but expect him to be charged with arson in connection with the vandalism.
Fort Worth fire investigators are the lead on the case, but will not say whether they are looking for more suspects. Police have not yet released details about why he is suspected.
The workers restoring the damage say they've spent two long days working here and they're still not finished.
St. Stephen Presbyterian Church lets homeless people sleep inside every Tuesday during the Winter season for refuge.
"I come here to get a break from stress and off the streets, you know,” said Clyde Goldsmith.
But the sanctuary isn't Goldsmith's favorite temporary home; it’s the parish hall next door. It was ransacked and almost set on fire last Saturday. It's where the homeless usually stay and where they feel at home at this church.
"Why would you go to a church? I mean, of all places, a church?” Goldsmith questioned.
Reverend Fritz Ritsch says police have surveillance camera footage showing a group at the church around 8 p.m. Saturday and then stay for hours to trash the place until a staff member arrived around 5 a.m. on Sunday,
A seventy-year-old stained glass was destroyed as well as a portrait of one of the founders of the church. Fort Worth Police say the vandals tried to start a fire in the kitchen, ruining food meant for the homeless.
"I think they wanted to destroy things, and I think that was their full intention,” the reverend said. "It's just amazing to me that somebody would spend so many hours just in the act of destruction. It just seems like a lot of hate for some reason."
St. Stephen has served the city and the homeless for more than 100 years.
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