By VERONICA GORDON
Kyle police are investigating overnight acts of vandalism in two separate cases that could potentially be connected.
On Nov. 21, vandals struck in the middle of the night at the Word of Life Church, across from the Post Oak neighborhood, spray-painting racial slurs and profanity on a bus that’s used to help students learn.
James Roy Jacobs runs a nonprofit mobile mentoring program that provides technology to children who don’t have access to computers. His group, N.O.W. Youth, Inc. (New Opportunities Waiting), travels around Central Texas offering lessons.
“The bus was tagged with racial slurs and ‘God-hate’ messages,” Jacobs said.
He received the call about the vandalism last Wednesday morning from the church janitor, who discovered the defacement at about 8 a.m. The incident likely happened between midnight and 8 a.m., he said.
“It couldn’t have happened at a worse time for our group that depends mostly on donations to operate,” he said. “And we had just canceled our insurance and were waiting on the new insurance to start, but there’s a gap and this isn’t going to be covered. This is very heartbreaking.”
Kyle Police Department received the call from Jacobs and responded to a similar call a short time later regarding a vehicle that also was vandalized in the same area. The investigation is ongoing, so little information was available Wednesday afternoon.
The N.O.W. bus was brushed for fingerprints, and police combed the area for clues, Jacobs said.
“The police think this could be a gang or an amateur gang,” he added. “How could this happen to a nonprofit, let alone on a church’s property?”
James said it was fortunate that the bus was locked securely, which prevented any equipment from being stolen.
“You can see where they tried to get in but couldn’t, because it’s double-locked,” he said.
The bus isn’t monitored by video cameras, but the area where it’s parked is very well-lit, Jacobs added. A lawn mower and shed on the property were also tagged.
Jacobs hopes someone driving by might have seen the suspects or some suspicious activity during the incident.
“They took their time and made sure to get the markings very visible. You can see it from the highway,” Jacobs said. “Even the license plates were painted over.”
Jacobs is optimistic that the culprits will be caught, but for now he’s hoping the community will step in and help with the cost to repair the damages.
“This is a disappointment not only for Mr. Jacobs but for the hundreds of kids that are anxiously waiting for the bus to pull up in their neighborhood,” said Kyle Resident Raymond Duran.
Anyone with information about the crime can contact the Kyle Police Department, or call James Roy Jacobs at 757-5417 or log on to www.nowyouthinc.org.