Pastor responds after nativity and cemetery were found vandalized at a Forest church

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FOREST, Va. (WDBJ7) The Bedford County Sheriff’s Office needs your help finding the person responsible for vandalizing a local church, just days before Christmas.

This morning the Pastor Charlie Johnson of Shiloh United Methodist Church on Forest Rd. found the nativity scene damaged, electrical cords cut and over ten headstones overturned.

Back in 2012 the same church had 12 figures stolen from their nativity scene. Deputies were able to arrest and charge several people with those crimes. Fast forward six years and they are in a similar situation.

“What bothers me the most is just the senselessness of it,” said Johnson. “It doesn't have any rhyme or reason to it.”

Along with the cut electrical cords and scattered nativity, a number of headstones in the church's cemetery were knocked over and some, completely broken.

“They knocked over veterans, nonveterans, men, women, children,” said Johnson. “They destroyed stones that are almost 200 years old. It just doesn't make sense.”

The congregation is trying to not let it take away from the Christmas season too much. A few people teamed up to make sure the nativity is up and standing again.

“A trustee said when he got home (he) just decided (he) wasn’t going to let them win,” said Johnson. “Brought his grandkids up and they put it back up.

But other things aren’t as easy to fix.

“The cemetery it's stuff too, but it's stuff that's been here for as long as the church has been here. We have church members buried in there. People that we've recently buried in there, people that we care about,” said Johnson. “And it hurts when someone messes with your family.”

If you have any information you are asked to call the Bedford County Sheriff's Office or Central Virginia Crime Stoppers.