ARLINGTON — Police are investigating whether graffiti painted on two churches this weekend is related to similar cases at two other Arlington churches in recent weeks.Officials discovered the graffiti at Most Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, 2100 N. Davis Drive, early Sunday as the congregation arrived for 8 a.m. Mass. Graffiti was spray-painted on the brick columns at the church entrance and on a sign along North Davis.Graffiti was later reported at the Shepherd of Life Lutheran Church, 715 E. Lamar Blvd., police said Monday afternoon.The graffiti at Most Blessed Sacrament was written in Spanish and included words such as muerte, Spanish for “death,” and contained references to the crucifixion. Most of what was spray-painted made little sense, said Sgt. Jeff Houston, an Arlington police spokesman.At the Lutheran church, the graffiti was written in both Spanish and English, Houston said.“The detectives thought it was close enough to tie it to the other ones,” Houston said.Two other Arlington churches were also vandalized with graffiti in recent weeks. The New Life Fellowship Church at 2001 Brown Blvd. was spray-painted with graffiti Oct. 9, and St. Joseph Catholic Church was hit Sept. 30.“My understanding is, the message content was similar, but it’s still early in the investigation,” Houston said. “… The only difference is, it was a much smaller area that was spray-painted in the first two incidents.”The graffiti at St. Joseph was so inconspicuous that it wasn’t initially reported to police, said Pat Svacina, a spokesman for the Fort Worth Catholic Diocese. Police were contacted after Most Blessed Sacrament reported the graffiti.The vandalism there occurred sometime after a wedding Saturday night and before the first Mass on Sunday, Houston said.Svacina said: “The church has never had any problems and is ingrained in that north Arlington community. Several folks have said they can’t understand why they would do that. The church is open and welcomes everyone.”The Police Department’s gang and robbery units handle all graffiti investigations, but police have no reason to believe that the incidents are gang-related, Houston said.“We canvassed the neighborhood and didn’t get any potential leads,” Houston saidThe graffiti will be cleaned up through the city’s graffiti abatement program.Graffiti becomes an automatic state jail felony if it involves a school, church, cemetery, public monument or community center.
Bill Hanna, 817-390-7698 Twitter: @fwhanna