December 4, 2022

Taylor Daily Press

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Vandals destroy Sint Pavoke: “The perpetrators punched a hole in the church door with a fire extinguisher” (Oud Turnhout)

Vandals destroy Sint Pavoke: “The perpetrators punched a hole in the church door with a fire extinguisher” (Oud Turnhout)

Jos Huybreghts of the Sint-Bavo Church Council in Oud-Turnhout shows the gap in the door between the sacristy and the church hall of Sint-Bavokerk. © Bart van den Langenberg

Old – Turnhout

The Sint-Bavokerk in Oud-Turnhout has received unwanted visitors in recent days. The invaders looted the back of the treasury and emptied the collective wine bottles. “They also made a big hole in the wooden door that connects the chapel itself to a fire extinguisher,” says Jos Huybreghts, treasurer of the Oud-Turnhout Church Council.

Bart van den Langenberg

The robbers caused damage to St. Pavoke’s St. in central Oud-Turnhout either Saturday night or Sunday night. The attackers entered the building from the back of the church. It was Jan Helsen, another member of the church council, who noticed the Monday morning intrusion. He was there because he had an appointment with a church central heating company,” explains Jos Huybreghts, the treasurer of Sint-Bavokerk. The perpetrators broke into the closet door in the back. The door frame was completely smashed. In the closet they opened and searched all the lockers and drawers. They also tried to open a heavy safe, but they They did not succeed. At first glance, nothing was stolen. All traces were also left standing. They may have been looking for money, but it is not there. It was still noticeable that they had pulled the curtains in the closet. Usually these curtains are never closed.”

The door frame of the treasury of St. Bavo’s Church in Odd Turnhout has been largely destroyed. © Bart van den Langenberg

hole in the door

The invaders eventually tried to storm the church itself. In the space between the treasury and the church, they tried to smash the heavy wooden entrance door of the church. “They made a hole in the door with a fire extinguisher. In the end, the hole wasn’t big enough, that no one could crawl through. Fortunately, they didn’t get into the church itself,” says Jos Huybreghts. But the damage to the traditionally made door is great A number of carvings fell on the door on the side of the church. We will no longer be able to open the door for the time being.”

Jos Huybreghts stands in the treasury of Oud-Turnhout Church. The thieves had opened and searched all the cupboards and drawers there. © Bart van den Langenberg

It seemed that the Vandals were also very thirsty. They discovered in the closet a box containing seven bottles of collective wine. The thieves stole a lot of bottles and poured wine around the cupboard. After owning themselves, the vandals left only with a copper drain pipe.

A team from Turnhout District Police arrived at the scene Monday morning to make the necessary decisions. The church board hopes most of the damages will be settled with the insurance company. A few years ago we encountered vandalism in the same church. Then it was about some guys who threw around songbooks. A fire extinguisher was also discharged at that time.”

There is no respect

The church building is usually always open to visitors along the facade. On Monday, all church doors remained closed.

Jan Sels (N-VA), a local council member for Heritage and Heritage in Oud-Turnhout, can’t understand it. On Saturday at five in the evening, another Eucharistic celebration was held in the church. At that time there was nothing wrong,” Jan Sills replies. Breaking into the church building is very unfortunate. The perpetrators really had no respect at all.”

At night from Friday to Saturday, a burglary also occurred at Heilig Hartkerk in Kerkplein in Turnhout. There thieves stole the remains. Police say the storming of the church had nothing to do with them.

The Sint-Bavokerk Hotel in Oud-Turnhout kept its doors closed on Monday. © Bart van den Langenberg

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