Police recently arrested two elementary school-age students in connection with the vandalism of a number of Emmanuel Community Church vehicles, Police Chief Karin T. DiMichele said.
The juveniles - ages 8 and 9 - were charged with criminal mischief, burglary and resisting arrest, the chief said.
DiMichele credited an alert neighbor who notified police while the incident was occurring at the church on Wheaton Avenue in Bayville at 2:31 p.m. on Oct. 13.
"This is all due to a neighbor being the watchful eye of the community and doing the right thing and calling us," she said. "That's how these two suspects were apprehended."
The juveniles broke into a church bus, spray-painted all the seats and ceilings with gray and white paint and broke five windows, DiMichele said.
They also spray-painted two church vans, a church trailer and took mail out of the church's mailbox, the chief said.
When Officers Ronald Bondulich Jr. and Walter Dudley arrived, they ordered the juveniles to stop.
"They ignored commands, a foot pursuit ensued," the chief said. "They were found in the woods."
One of the juveniles is from Bayville, the other is from Hazlet.
"Because of their ages, this will probably go before the Juvenile Justice Commission to be heard," DiMichele said.
Church officials do not have a total estimate of the damages yet, the chief said.
Police took the parents of the juveniles and the children back to the scene after they were arrested to survey the damage, DiMichele said.
The chief urged residents to remain vigilant and call police whenever they see something suspicious.
"Call us when the problem is occurring," DiMichele said.