Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Florida Lodge Vandalized

Temple Terrace Lodge No. 330 was vandalized in Temple Terrace, Florida on Monday evening. According to the police report, printed in the St. Petersburg Times:

The window was broken, fingerprints fresh.

Inside, a burned Masonic Bible lay atop a damaged altar.

Nearby was Tod Redman Stewart, a 34-year-old homeless man. He was arrested at 12:27 a.m. and booked into a Hillsborough County jail.

This was the same man who set fire to a flag outside the U.S. District Courthouse in downtown Tampa three times — once in 2007 and twice in 2006.


According to state records, this was his 29th arrest. This was Stewart's fourth arrest this year. Twice before, in 1999 and 2000, he was acquitted of theft charges and deemed emotionally unstable. Since then, he and the Tampa police department have been regular acquaintances. Last year he was convicted of trespassing in Tampa International Airport, and in May, he was convicted for trespassing at a Wal-Mart.

In the lodge fire incident, he has been charged with burglary of an unoccupied structure, first-degree arson and criminal mischief to a place of worship—probably based on church arson laws enacted in recent years.

2 comments:

Buffalo Bill said...

I really do hope that this does not become the trend as the Lost Symbol media hype expands.

47th Problem of Euclid said...

Unfortunately for Mr. Stewart, this probably means there will be at least one black cube in his ballot when he petitions Temple Terrace Lodge #330 for membership.

More seriously, this kind of vandalism is distressing, but the man seems seriously ill. Brethren might want to contact Temple Terrace Lodge #330 through the Grand Lodge of Florida website and see if their building committee could use a donation.

I'm a bit uneasy about having a masonic lodge referred to as a "place of worship" in the eyes of the law. Masonry is not a religion.