Arlington man arrested in defacement of four churches

Posted Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

Have more to add? News tip? Tell us

A 37-year-old Arlington man has been arrested as a suspect in the graffiti painting of four churches in the city and police are investigating whether he is connected to more graffiti cases.

Marcellino Tello was arrested outside a business in the 2200 block of Miller Road about 8:30 p.m. Monday on a criminal trespass complaint. Officers went there because of a report related to the vandalism at the churches.

Tello matched the description of the suspect from surveillance video at one of the churches. After conducting an interview and talking with witnesses, police said they believe that Tello is responsible for the graffiti at the four churches and are investigating whether other churches were hit.

Two churches, Shepherd of Life Lutheran Church at 700 E. Lamar Blvd. and Most Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church at 2100 N. Davis Blvd., were vandalized with graffiti this weekend, Graffiti was spray-painted on brick walls, sidewalks, and/or signs at some of the churches. In addition, New Life Fellowship Church at 2001 Brown Blvd. was spray-painted Oct. 9, and St. Joseph Catholic Church was hit Sept. 30.

It is a state jail felony to place graffiti on a place of worship.

The graffiti at Most Blessed Sacrament was in Spanish and included words such as muerte, Spanish for “death,” and also contained references to the crucifixion. Most of what was spray-painted made little sense, police said. At the Lutheran church, the graffiti was written in Spanish and English, Houston said

Pat Svacina, a spokesman for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth, said church officials were relieved that an arrest had been made.

"People desecrating a sacred place is something we take seriously," Svacina said. "We don't want to see any churches being defaced."

Tello remains in the Arlington City Jail with bail set at $6,750 on four counts of graffiti at a place of worship and one count of criminal trespass. Detectives are working to determine how many churches or businesses were defaced. Police are not releasing a photo of Tello because it may be included in photo identification lineups during the investigation.

Bill Hanna, 817-390-7698 Twitter: @fwhanna

Looking for comments?

We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse or any device to draw undue attention. Our policy requires those wishing to post here to use their real identity.

Our commenting policy | Facebook commenting FAQ | Why Facebook?