Police released surveillance video of a group of people caught vandalizing a historic Black church in Montgomery County, Maryland, in hopes it can help lead to an arrest.
The dark, grainy video shows seven individuals, with flashlights, outside the modest, white-painted church on Seven Locks Road in Potomac, before the break in.
“It’s just very disheartening, very disturbing and there are a lot of people that are really hurt by this,” said Alan Heard, chairman of the Trustee Board of Scotland AME Zion Church.
The break-in happened on Nov. 25 at Scotland AME Zion Church on the 10900 block of Seven Locks Road in Potomac. Police said the vandals forced their way into the church, damaged property and left.
“They proceeded to break in, break the front door; they really damaged the front door severely,” Heard said.
There wasn’t much to take inside, but Heard said the break-in has added to the congregation’s pain because the church was damaged by flooding twice in 2019 and 2021; church members are trying to raise money to conduct repairs.
“I don’t think that the vandals realize, in addition to the damage that they did, that they actually affected people’s lives, emotionally,” Heard said.
There are some 150 worshipers at Scotland AME Zion, who have been holding services in another church and, when weather permits, in the parking lot of their historic church.
Scotland is a community that was established by former enslaved individuals in the late 19th century and the modest church building dates to the 1920s.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated to indicate the correct number of people in the video.