Authorities are investigating at least 10 cases of vandalism at churches and other buildings across Jefferson County.
The word "memeneusha"--or a variation of it--has been spray painted on sidewalks, walls and doors of the churches.
Officials have not yet said what they think the word means.
Two adults are being questioned in relation to the vandalism, but their involvement is not yet clear, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office says.
The Sheriff's Office investigated three churches in the northeast part of Jefferson County that were hit.
"In each case the churches had graffiti spray painted on the walls, doors and grounds. All three churches had similar markings spray painted on the entrances," Chief Deputy Randy Christian said in a release.
The three churches under investigation by the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office are:
-Mountain View Baptist Church on Chalkville Road
-Grayson Valley Good Samaritan Church on Huffman Road
-Center Point Independent Church on Huffman Road
"Similar cases of vandalism have been reported in Birmingham, Hueytown and Pleasant Grove," Christian added.
The scope and the scale of the vandalism is still unclear.
Hueytown's police chief confirmed at least two places had been hit in his jurisdiction.
"Another issue that we're having is that some churches haven't reported, we've actually gone to the churches and solicited and found out that they were vandalized. And I think you'll find that's gonna be fairly common across the metro area," Hueytown Police Chief Chuck Hagler said.
The spray paint was seen on the sidewalk and across the doors of the St. Luke AME church in Hueytown.
A similar word, "memeneushady" was spray painted at the Solid Rock Church on Pinson Valley Parkway in Birmingham.
"The first thing it makes me think is I'm very sad for the condition of the world we're in right now," Solid Rock Church Senior Pastor Larry Ragland said. "Immediately, I'm trying to, we're trying to interpret what it means. Sounding it out."
The vandalism is also reported at First Baptist Church in Pleasant Grove, Our Lady of Lourdes in the Huffman area and Mt. Calvary Baptist Church in Tarrant.
Two non-church buildings to report the vandalism so far are the Roebuck-area YMCA, where the word was spray painted on a sidewalk and the entrance, and a private home in Pleasant Grove, where vandals painted the sidewalk and a garage door.
The YMCA's director says their surveillance video shows a man wearing a baseball cap spray painting the front entrance. The YMCA has turned over the video to Birmingham police.
"The front seemed to be clear and he simply walked up put something on the sidewalk and as quickly as he came he left," YMCA director Terri Harvill said.
Harvill said no one was in danger and police were quick to respond.
"They were actually here taking down our information and they were already getting a call about the next situation," said Harvill.
Gardendale police are increasing patrols around their local church buildings, the department posted on their Facebook page.
"Please do your part and call us if you see anyone suspicious around the churches," Gardendale police said.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office at 205-325-1450 or Crime Stoppers at 205-254-7777.
We have confirmed that the following locations have been vandalized:
Garywood Assembly of God, Hueytown
St. Luke AME Church, Hueytown
Mountain View Baptist Church, Chalkville Road
Grayson Valley Good Samaritan Church, Huffman Road
Center Point Independent Church, Huffman Road
Parkway Christian Fellowship, Birmingham/Huffman area
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