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Police look for person who broke 168-year-old stained glass at Somerset County church

| Sunday, June 16, 2013, 3:06 p.m.

A tossed rock broke a 168-year-old stained-glass window at a rural Somerset County church during the weekend.

The original stained-glass windows are insured for more than $1 million at Christ Casebeer Lutheran Church in Lincoln, Pastor Dennis L. Doebler said.

“The stained glass is very beautiful in this church,” Doebler said. “It's going to be a costly thing to replace.”

Worship went on as normal on Sunday, with an area around the broken window blocked off to parishioners.

The break happened sometime before 5 p.m. Saturday, and it wasn't an accident, state police and Doebler said.

“They hurled it, as far as we could tell,” Doebler said.

The rock left a hole “larger than a basketball” on clear storm windows meant to protect the stained glass from the elements, he said.

“It wasn't enough to protect the inside,” Doebler said.

The window depicts the Gospel of St. Luke, he said. It is one of eight narrow windows that face Somerset Pike.

Church officials reported the incident to police in the hope that a passer-by might have seen a vehicle in the area or have other information. Doebler said he realizes the possibility of finding a suspect is slim.

Church leaders said they hope to find someone to replace or repair the stained glass.

“We're going to proceed with getting it fixed,” Doebler said. “We're just hoping and praying that this is not going to be a repeat” offense.

Nothing was taken from inside the church.

Anyone with information is asked to call state police at Somerset at 814-445-4104.

Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or rsignorini@tribweb.com.

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