Local church, home, businesses vandalized with rocks multiple times
COLUMBIA – An unknown man threw rocks through a funeral home’s vehicle and building windows on Wednesday around 4 a.m, according to funeral home owner Thomas May.
About 30 minutes later that same morning, JT’s Cutz Barber Shop had twelve windows broken by rocks.
Around 10 a.m. that morning, May’s neighbor also had windows broken, one of them being in the bedroom of her young daughter.
On August 31, a churchgoer also discovered St. Paul A.M.E. Church had two windows broken in the middle of the night.
“I really don’t understand people like this. It frustrates me as a business owner that people would attack this place. Not only is it a funeral home, we also have a church that has services here,” May said.
The owner of the barber shop, Maurice Strickland and May think the person throwing the rocks has been the same in every incident. They said the rocks found at the scene of each incident have been almost identical.
This is the fourth time H.T. May and Son Funeral Home has had windows broken. The first incident was August 29 when one front window was broken and then replaced within a day.
When May returned to his funeral home Wednesday, September 13, he found another broken window. Then, Saturday, September 16, May and his wife, Jennifer, found the same window broken. Each time it was broken, he replaced the window within a day.
According to May, after Saturday’s incident, he replaced that window’s glass with stronger, less breakable glass. He said when the man discovered he could not break it, he caused more damage.
H.T. May and Son Funeral Home has had seven building windows broken in total. Wednesday’s incident also included four company van windows.
The cost to fix the windows alone was over $1,500.
“We don’t know if they’re escalating, they might be doing something worse the next time,” May said.
Jennifer May posted a video of the man attempting to break the front window on Wednesday morning to Facebook. Thomas May said, “We already have over 5000 views in less than a day."
“They have no consideration for people going through a mourning period,” May said. “That individual cares nothing for other people.”
JT’s Cutz had its windows broken twice before Wednesday’s incident, all within the last 10 days. The first time, the back door was shattered. The second time, the front door was shattered. On Wednesday, the damage went up to twelve windows.
“It’s irritating,” Strickland said. “It makes it ugly, people think something different is going on in here.”
Strickland said he is also frustrated with the expense. He said he has an estimated $1,500 in damages.
He has increased security, adding four more cameras around the building.
He said the person throwing rocks has never taken anything from the barber shop so, “What do you get out of it?”
“We don’t want anyone’s safety to be compromised because we don’t know what these people will do,” May said.
May, Strickland, May’s neighbor and a church official all filed police reports after every incident. The investigation is ongoing.
“We refused to be intimidated by that. We’re going to stay here. We’re going to be here. We have people rallying around not only us, but each other,” May said.