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Meriden churches have railings stolen

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MERIDEN - Two Meriden churches, less than a half mile apart from one another, were vandalized recently in a way you might not have imagined.

Stealing railings from churches appears to have become a bit of a trend. At Saint Rose of Lima Catholic Church, on Center Street in Meriden, two railings, made of bronze, were stolen last week.

"Of course, our older parishioners made note of it immediately because they rely on them to get up and down the steps," said Father James Manship.

The week before, a couple of blocks away, at Saint Andrews Episcopal Church, the same thing happened, but Fr. Mark Byers says "It doesn't affect our love for our neighbors or the city." But, neighbors are upset.
"You don’t do that to a church, said Center Street resident Mule Spinelli, who lives across the street from St. Rose.

Police asked for his surveillance video, which shows one person taking that church's railings.

"He literally, just because they’re shorter poles down at the bottom, he just strong armed it and ripped them out," said Spinelli.

This happened early Saturday morning, February 16.

"And, he took a Meriden city trashcan, green one, put them (railings) in there and walked right off," Spinelli said.

But, Meriden churches haven't been the only targets.

"Our Catholic Mutual Insurance Company was telling me you know we also had a church in Wooster Square, in New Haven, Saint Michael’s, their brass railings were also stolen," Manship noted.

The Meriden police have even canvassed local scrap yards for leads.

"The parish has been here since 1848," said Manship.

"This neighborhood is a good neighborhood," said Spinelli. "It’s a safe neighborhood and we all look out for one another."

Spinelli says some of the parishioners and residents are looking at the possibility of raising some money to have new railings installed.

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