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17 cars damaged during prayer meeting at Evergreen barn chapel

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EVERGREEN, Colo. -- While many may still consider the Barn at Evergreen Memorial Park a safe haven, the parking lot outside the historic Evergreen barn chapel apparently is not.

According to Jefferson County Sheriff's investigators, 17 cars were damaged while members of the church located at 27054 North Turkey Creek Road attended a prayer meeting on Jan. 29. Deputies said they believe the damage was done between 4:30 and 6 p.m.

"I felt this was apparently a hate crime," says Ronald Lewis, who, along with his family, runs the Barn & Fields at Evergreen Memorial Park.

The vandals threw rocks through church windows and poured a gel-based paint stripper on 17 vehicles in the parking lot. The stripper took the paint down to the bare metal, causing extensive damage, according to police, who also said there were many additional scratches on the vehicles, as well.

Police estimate the damage at $43,000, and said that the estimate is expected to climb after actual body shop estimates are completed.

"I think there's someone who knows this group, who's visited this group, familiar with them, is very angry what they say, what they do," Lewis says.

Anyone who has information about this crime is being urged to call the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office tip line at 303-271-5612.