Police suspect 3 in Churchill vandalism

Based on hand writing, authorities suspect three people were involved in last weekend's bizarre vandalism at the Winston Churchill Museum in Fulton.

Fulton police followed several leads Wednesday but so far have no suspects.

"It's possibly three individuals that we believe to be doing this," said Fulton Police Chief Steve Myers. "We've seen three different styles of writing."

On Sunday, Fulton police found the historic church and museum spray-painted with blue questions - the same ones they want answered. "Who are we?" and "Why?" - taunting messages left by brazen graffiti artists

Museum officials say clean up will easily cost thousands of dollars and require some specialized equipment to remove the graffiti.

"This is like one of the most important places in Fulton," said Mongi Simelane, an international student at Westminster College. "So for someone to come and do that is quite appalling actually. I don't think it's quite cool at all."

Pranksters painted a silver mustache on the Churchill statue, scrawled the initials "E.S." on the Berlin Wall sculpture and spray-painted blue messages on all but one side of the Church of St. Mary the Virgin.

"There's a great deal of sadness and disappointment," said Rob Crouse, director of public relations for Westminster College. "Shock and of course a degree of anger at all of this."

The Church of St. Mary the Virgin was built in London in the 1600's and re-built in Fulton in the early 1960's. It was shipped overseas brick by brick. Because the church is so fragile, specialists and special equipment will be brought in to remove the graffiti.

Museum officials hope to have it all gone within two weeks.

The graffiti artists targeted other areas around town. Similar mesasges and pictures were found at the Fulton Skate Park and the Beco Concrete Plant. While most has been cleaned up, a faded blue question mark still remains at the skate park.

Since the Churchill museum is on the National Register of Historic Places the culprit's could face federal charges. Fulton police say they are working closely with the U.S. Attorney's office.

Fulton's police chief says the vandals might strike again, or brag about what they've already done - and he's hoping someone will come forward. The museum's director, Rob Havers, says he hopes whoever is responsible should be punished "to the fullest extent of the law."

While nobody seems to know what the messages mean, nobody really seems to care - they just want whoever's responsible caught.

"The church survived two World Wars," said Havers. And "the Great Fire of London. It'll survive this, undoubtedly."

If you have any information, you're urged to call Callaway County Crime Stoppers at (573) 592-2474.