Man Charged With Vandalizing Landmark Church in North Hollywood

Criminal charges were filed  against a man arrested for allegedly vandalizing St. Charles Borromeo, a landmark Roman Catholic church in North Hollywood.

Russel Congleton, 58, was arraigned in a Van Nuys courtroom on one felony count each of second-degree commercial burglary and arson of a structure and two felony counts each of felony vandalism and arson of property, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

The vandalism at the church known at Lankershim Boulevard and Moorpark Street was discovered about 4:45 a.m. last Wednesday, the Los Angeles Police Department reported.

Congleton allegedly forced his way through a double door leading into the church and once inside attempted to set three separate fires before vandalizing the premises, according to the LAPD.

Police say he smashed stained glass windows and damaged religious statues, books, candles and holders and spread holy oils throughout the church.

“Upon exiting the building, he set a fourth fire on the outer door,” according to a police statement.

“During his crime spree, he set a fire to a trash Dumpster at (a) nearby Chase bank and vandalized five vehicles by smashing the windows.”

Congleton was arrested shortly before 8 a.m. Monday, according to the LAPD and sheriff’s online inmate records.

The case was being investigated by the multi-agency House of Worship Task Force.