Who torched this church van? Pastors want vandalism to stop

Leaders from Christ’s Church in Federal Way said an unknown arsonist torched one of their shuttle vans this month, the latest in a string of vandalism at the church at 941 S. Dash Point Road.

The church’s Life Groups and Discipleship Pastor Caleb Kim said they are mystified as to why someone would want to immolate the van. This isn’t the first time their vehicles have been vandalized, but it “is the most extreme,” he said.

“We haven’t developed any leads or motives,” Kim said in an interview this month. “We’re not sure why, at all, it happened.”

The van, bought a few years ago, was apparently set on fire some time after midnight Sept. 2. The flames appear to have burned the vehicle nearly to its frame, leaving nothing but a metal skeleton inside the seating area and even melting most of the vehicle’s exterior.

The church still has two other similar 15-passenger vans, and it uses those vans to take middle- and high-school kids to retreats, ferry elderly members where they need to go ,and shuttle the church to service trips, Kim said. But the arson will affect their ability to accomplish those tasks.

It’s not the first brush with vandalism for the church, which is right next door to Sacajawea Middle School. They’ve had windows broken, items stolen from the church and graffiti sprayed, Kim said. The church vehicles have been vandalized too, including gas being siphoned, gas lines getting cut, and the removal of catalytic converters.

“We’ve experienced vandalism like many other churches in the area,” Kim said. “I think a lot of it is because … people are bored, and they vandalize things. That tends to happen more during the summer. But (often) it’s more someone looking to steal stuff and make a quick dollar.”

The church wants anyone with information on the van’s torching to come forward, Kim said, but they’re less interested in castigating the culprit and more interested in deterring future vandalism.

“It bums us out,” Kim said. “Not being able to serve, to help others around here, care for people well, is an unfortunate major side effect of this. … We’re not hateful, spiteful (toward) whoever did this. We want them to know we love and care for them, and would desire for them to know the lord.”

As of press time, the Mirror was awaiting further details from the Federal Way Police Department.

The interior of the van was scorched, with the components burned down to the metal. Photo by Alex Bruell/Sound Publishing

The interior of the van was scorched, with the components burned down to the metal. Photo by Alex Bruell/Sound Publishing