Man Arrested After Four Churches Defaced in Arlington

(KXAS) -- Arlington police say they have made an arrest in connection with vandalism at four local churches.

Investigators said Tuesday morning that 37-year-old Marcelino Tello was arrested Monday night outside of a business on the 2200 block of Miller Road on a charge of criminal trespassing.

Police said officers were called to the location on a report of information about recent vandalism cases. When they arrived, detectives contacted Tello, who matched a description of a person caught on video at one of the churches.

After interviewing Tello, and based on information gathered in their investigation, police said Tello is responsible for vandalism cases involving at least four churches.

Two of the most recent cases of graffiti appeared overnight Saturday into Sunday at the Most Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church on the 2100 block of North Davis Boulevard, and at the Shepherd of Life Lutheran Church on the 700 block of E. Lamar Boulevard.

Arlington police said Tello is also suspect at two other recently defaced locations including, St. Joseph Catholic Church and the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses.

At least two other locations, a Masonic Lodge and The New Life Fellowship Church, are also part of the investigation, police said.

In all cases, nonsensical messages regarding death and crucifixion were left painted on to walls in Spanish, police said.

Tello was arrested is now being held in the Arlington City Jail on $6,750 bail for four counts of graffiti of a place of worship and one count of criminal trespass. At this time, his mugshot has not been released.

"Anytime the sanctity of a church, synagogue, mosque or other place of worship is violated, we take that very seriously and will seek vigorous prosecution of the offenders," said Arlington Police Chief Will Johnson, in a news release.

Police said the investigation is ongoing and that detectives are working to determine how many churches or businesses were targeted.


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