Oakland church left without electricity, water, seating after vandals gut sanctuary

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

OAKLAND, Calif. – The Mountain Of Fire and Miracles Ministries church in Oakland was left without electricity, water and chairs after being repeatedly targeted by burglars and vandals.

In an emotional interview with KTVU after yet another break-in, Pastor Grace Ugeh, said on Saturday night vandals ripped up walls, left entries walls covered in graffiti and even tried to take their doors. 

“I feel anger, I feel pain, I feel emptiness,” Ugeh said.  “It hurts.”

The church bought the building off of Hegenberger Road in 2014, a decision Ugeh regrets. 

Once inside the building hardly resembles a church anymore. 

Large pieces of drywall were thrown about hallways mixed with documents they left behind after breaking into Ugeh’s office. Members sit in folding chairs they bring themselves and take with them when they leave. 

They bring their own water in jugs and carry flashlights. In addition to no electricity, each window is boarded up from being broken. 

Ugeh uses a karaoke machine she bought at Walmart to preach on Sundays. 

According to Ugeh, the break-ins started in early April and have continued almost weekly since. Each time she comes, something else is either gone or destroyed. 

A contractor estimates more than $300,000 in damage has been done. 

“Everything is ruined, they smashed everything,” Ugeh said. “The worst part is walking into a church and you’re seeing this graffiti inside the church.

The congregation has dwindled from more than 100 people to 25. 

Now the church is unsure how they will keep their doors open. 

“I would have left, but we own the building so what do I do?” Ugeh said. “What do I say to my lenders?”

The church said they have repeatedly reached out to police and Oakland Mayor Sheg Thao but said neither has done anything to help.

Oakland police did not respond to KTVU’s request for comment. 

“It’s a church, if you don’t have a church, how can you pray for the city,” Ugeh said. “Our job is to pray for the city.”

The church set up a GoFundMe to help pay for repair costs: https://gofund.me/c54059a0

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.