A suspect has been apprehended in El Paso, Texas after a local church was burglarized and vandalized with Satanic symbols last month, resulting in thousands of dollars in damages.
The El Paso Police Department announced the arrest of Isaac Jordan Soto-Olivarez, 27, last week for allegedly breaking into and vandalizing the Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church on July 17.
According to authorities, Soto-Olivarez was observed on video surveillance cameras damaging several items and causing an estimated $4,100 in damages. When officers arrived at the scene, they observed the inside of the building with holy oil poured throughout different areas of the church. They also observed several items throughout the church including crosses that were turned upside down.
The number “666” was written on several items inside of the church including a rosary candle, mirror, and on the tabernacle in the prayer room, according to the police department.
Soto-Olivarez was located and apprehended by El Paso police with the help of the FBI’s West Texas Border Corruption Task Force. Following his arrest, he was booked into the El Paso County Detention Facility. He faces three charges, one offense of Burglary of Building, one offense of Criminal Mischief Damage/Destruction to Place of Worship, and one offense of Evading Arrest or Detention.
Items from the church were recovered at his residence after the FBI executed a federal search warrant.
The Diocese of El Paso recently released a statement about the incident, thanking the authorities and asking for prayers for those who work in law enforcement and for the alleged perpetrator.
“We are grateful to the El Paso Police Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation for their diligent work in investigating this incident, and we appreciate their professional response,” the statement said. “We are thankful that the physical damage to the church was minimal and has been fully cleaned up since the incident almost two weeks ago.”
“Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church is open and has continued uninterrupted with weekly and weekend services as normal,” the statement continued. “We ask for continued prayers for those who work in law enforcement, for the alleged perpetrator, and for the entire Most Holy Trinity community.”
In a related report last December, we also noted that churches were targeted 420 times since 2018.
Now, in the first three months of 2023, 69 acts of hostility have been recorded. That’s the most since the FRC started tracking the data six years ago.
There were 53 incidents of vandalism, 10 arson attempts, three gun-related incidents, and three bomb threats.
Twenty-nine states experienced acts of hostility against churches. North Carolina had the most incidents, with seven. Ohio and Tennessee each had five. Florida, Missouri, and Pennsylvania each had four. No incidents were found in 21 other states or the District of Columbia.