At first glance, the break-in at the Iglesia Evangelica Refugio de Salvacion looked like another sign of anti-immigrant sentiment on Long Island. [The article later notes some incidents, including an alleged murder and robbery. -EV]
The trespasser left behind three angry notes Wednesday on the altar of the Latino church, including one that said, "Hispanics don't rule, whites do."
But ... Saturday ... a Hispanic man with ties to the congregation was charged in the incident.
Suffolk County police said Christhian Munguia Garcia, 25, turned up at the church late Friday and tossed a log and a bottle at people leaving the building.
Parishioners gave chase, grabbed Garcia and held him until police arrived.
Patchogue Mayor Paul Pontieri Jr. told Newsday the altercation appeared to be the result of a dispute between Garcia and the church pastor. The pastor, the Rev. Roberto Sanchez, told the newspaper Garcia had previously been kicked out of a service because of bad behavior....
Police spokesman Tim Motz said authorities still considered the incident at the church a bias crime because it was directed at religious practice....
An attorney for Garcia ... said his anger at the church concerned "economic practices," not religion....
UPDATE: Title changed from "... to vandalize a church" to "... to commit crimes at a church."