NW Indiana man sentenced for ransacking Hammond church

A northwest Indiana man has been sentenced to community corrections and probation for breaking into a Hammond church with another man in 2019 and proceeding to ransack the sanctuary and its contents.

A Lake County judge sentenced Nicholas D. Reding, 25, of Hammond last week to two years in the county’s Community Corrections alternative placement program, followed by two years on probation.

Reding had pleaded guilty in April 2021 to felony burglary in connection with the May 29, 2019, break-in and vandalism of Faith United Church of Christ, The (Northwest Indiana) Times reported.

Reding’s co-defendant, Aaron Vanoppens, 26, of Hammond, was sentenced last year to three years in the community corrections program.

An altar, an organ, restrooms, a display case and an office were damaged during the break-in and subsequent vandalism.

During Vanoppens’ sentencing, Lake County Deputy Prosecutor Patrick Grindlay read a statement by a church elder describing the shock and horror that congregation members felt when they learned that every room in their place of worship was in shambles.

Grindlay said relics from the early 1900s were destroyed, and a vintage organ never can be replaced.

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