Person involved in vandalism and fires at two Bethesda churches has been identified, county police say

Montgomery County police say they have identified a person involved in the vandalism of two churches along Old Georgetown Road in North Bethesda.

Three churches close to each other were vandalized over the weekend of July 9-10, including two that were set on fire, authorities said.

At St. Jane Frances Parish in Chantal, a fire damaged several pews and several other items of religious significance around 2 a.m. July 10, according to the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Department spokesperson. Pete Piringer and Reverend Samuel Giest, the pastor of the church.

On July 9, a small fire at North Bethesda United Methodist Church damaged the kitchen and communion hall hallway around 1:30 a.m., according to authorities and the church.

At Wildwood Baptist Church, a dozen markers in the adjacent cemetery were vandalized and a wooden cross that stood at the edge of the property was thrown onto Old Georgetown Road, according to church pastor David Sayne .

In a statement Monday, county police said they were working with fire and explosives investigators from Fire & Rescue and the “matter is being handled in juvenile court.”

“There is no continuing threat to the community in relation to these incidents,” the post read.

The police message did not contain any information about whether anyone had been charged in connection with the vandalism, nor did it indicate what specific acts of vandalism the identified person may have committed. The police asked further questions to the fire and rescue service. A spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment.

Dan Schere can be contacted at [email protected]